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Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense plans to invest 284 billion Taiwanese dollars (around $8.75 billion) to construct seven new attack submarines, according to local media on Sunday.

The planned submarines will feature an improved design based on the Hai Kun, or Narwhal, prototype, Taiwan’s first domestically produced submarine, the Taipei Times reported, citing defense ministry sources.The submarines would be built in batches of three, two, and two until 2039, with an 18-month interval between each batch to incorporate new improvements.

If it goes according to plan, the first submarine will enter production in 2026, followed by the second in 2027. The new submarines will boast enhanced combat systems and the capability to fire both heavy torpedoes and Harpoon missiles In contrast,

Taiwan’s current HAI KUN, which is undergoing harbor and sea acceptance trials, can only fire heavy torpedoes.The enhancements mean the new submarines will be significantly more expensive to produce than the HAI KUN, according to the sources.

The submarine project will be included in the defense ministry’s annual budget proposal, which will be formally presented to the government in early August. The budget will then be submitted to the legislature for review at the end of the same month.On Saturday, Taiwanese defense minister Wellington Koo clarified that the funds for the new submarines would only be executed once the NARWHAL successfully completes its harbor and sea tests.

In 2023, the Taiwanese government increased its defense budget to a record 600.7 billion Taiwanese dollars ($18.535 billion) amid growing military pressure from China, which considers the island a rebel province.

Source : EFE