Taipei--Taiwan's Navy said Wednesday that it has commissioned a Dutch company to assist in a program to upgrade its two submarines bought from the Netherlands in the 1980s, but stressed that the program is not related to a program for Taiwan to build its own submarines.
The statement came in response to a media report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times earlier in the day that the Dutch company RH Marine has been commissioned by the Navy to carry out a system integration in the upgrade program for its two Chien Lung- class submarines.
"This will also be helpful for the program to build home-grown submarines," the report said, without elaboration.
The Navy, however, confirmed in the statement that RH Marine has been commissioned to assist in the integration of platform and electromechanical systems under the retrofit program for the two aging submarines.
But it stressed that the Dutch company's participation in the upgrade program "is unrelated to the domestic submarine program."
Commenting on the program to build Taiwan's own submarines, the Navy said local shipbuilder CSBC Corporation, Taiwan is currently responsible for the design of the submarines.
The program is being carried out according to schedule, said the Navy, adding that it will continue to conduct the program based on the policy of "self-reliant defense."
CSBC Corp. and the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSISTsigned a memorandum of understanding (MOUwith the Navy in March to jointly build submarines.
Under the MOU, the project will have two main phases. The first will be to complete the design for the subs and the second will involve actually building the submarines, according to CSBC.
According to the schedule, domestically built submarines will be completed in eight years and will be formally commissioned into service within a decade, CSBC has said.
The Navy currently has four submarines in its fleet: two purchased from the United States in the 1970s and two from the Netherlands in the 1980s.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel