|Export subs|| Export
RDM submarines for Taiwan
This page contains several press clippings about R.D.M.'s efforts to export newly built submarines to Taiwan. Unlike this unsuccessful R.D.M. attempt the Wilton Fijenoord shipyard successfully exported two Chien Lung / Hai Lung type submarines to Taiwan in the 1980s
1 September 2004 - Expatica News
AMSTERDAM — A Dutch businessman — once tipped by Pim Fortuyn as a potential minister in a populist government — has claimed his now-struggling company was promised compensation to entice it to pull out of a controversial submarine deal.
Senior Liberal VVD party figure Jozias van Aartsen has dismissed Joep van den Nieuwenhuyzen's statement as "nonsense". Finance Minister and VVD leader Gerrit Zalm has backed Van Aartsen's denial.
The compensation claim is the latest instalment in a major controversy surrounding Van den Nieuwenhuyzen's Rotterdam firm RDM.
Earlier this week, the director of Rotterdam Port, Willem Scholten, lost his job when it emerged he secretly agreed a EUR 100 million loan guarantee for the firm.
Germany's Commerzbank and Britain's Barclays Bank are now looking for the money to be repaid and there are fears Rotterdam Port might have to pick up the bill.
It has been suggested, but not confirmed, that the loan was in connection to a deal to sell submarines to Taiwan.
Van den Nieuwenhuyzen has claimed Van Aartsen — who was the Dutch Foreign Minister from 1998 to 2002 — promised the government would compensate RDM if it backed off from a controversial deal to supply the submarines to Taiwan.
He said China had threatened to impose economic sanctions on the Netherlands if the deal went ahead.
Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, two million Chinese Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China.
China has considered Taiwan to be a breakaway province ever since and has threatened it will consider military action if Taiwan declares full independence. Beijing always raises objections to international sales of sophisticated weaponry to the island.
Van Aartsen's former ministerial spokesman has said that businessman Van den Nieuwenhuyzen wanted an export licence to sell submarines to Taiwan. When the minister refused, he demanded compensation and the minister again turned him down, the spokesman said.
Dutch policy rules out selling weapons to Taiwan.
Van Nieuwenhuyzen threatened to bring the designs for the submarines to the US and have Washington sell the submarines to Taiwan. Van Aartsen allegedly pointed out that the Dutch government was co-owner of the designs.
In 2001, the US supplied several sophisticated weapons systems to Taiwan, including eight submarines. It is unclear if they were based on the Dutch submarine designs.
Before his assassination in 2002, populist politician Pim Fortuyn was asked who he would consider for the Cabinet if his LPF party won the balance of power. He named Van den Nieuwenhuyzen
|Taiwan pushes US government on indigenous submarine build plan|
Jane's Navy International, March 21, 2003
Taiwan has formally announced the creation of a cross-ministerial committee for local build of submarines under the Executive Yuan. This new committee, presided over by Vice Premier Lin Hsin-I, is planning to push the US government for Taiwan's right to build at least six of the eight diesel submarines promised by President George W Bush in April 2001.
Firms 'Present Plans for Taiwan Subs'
Agence France Presse, Nov. 19, 2001
Seven shipbuilding companies have presented plans to construct eight diesel submarines for Taiwan, the island's China Times reported yesterday.
The companies met during a closed-door meeting on Friday in Washington hosted by the US navy's Naval Sea System Command (Navsea), the report said.
Navsea handles engineering and building for the US fleet as well as acquisition projects.
Three companies owned by Northrop Grumman, three owned by General Dynamics and Taiwan's China Shipbuilding Corp attended the meeting, the report said. Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are both major US defence contractors.
Lockheed Martin, a licensed US exporter of military electronic and combat systems, also attended the meeting, a company source told the China Times. The project is estimated to be worth NT$138 billion (HK$34.5 billion), the report said.
Earlier this year, US President George W. Bush offered to sell Taiwan a generous package of four Kidd-class destroyers, eight submarines and 12 P-3 Orion submarine-killer aircraft, sparking strong opposition from China.
The US currently builds nuclear submarines only.
Germany and the Netherlands, which have the ability to build diesel submarines, had refused to export any of their submarines to Taiwan for fear of increasing tensions with the mainland.
Last month, Taiwan's legislators said the island would start taking delivery of diesel submarines from the US in 2010 as part of an arms build-up in the face of mainland military threats.
Taiwan's Defence Ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Agence France Presse - November 19, 2001
Several submarine builders have expressed interest in the Taiwanese navy's plan to acquire eight conventional submarines, according to a soon to be published report in Jane's Defence Weekly.
In an article to be published on November 21, Jane's says several submarine builders had submitted concept papers to the US Navy's (USN) International Programmes Office (IPO), which supervises Taiwan's submarine deal which was recently guaranteed by US President George W. Bush.
"Although industry representatives have been reluctant to discuss their bids, industry, navy and US Department of Defence sources reveal that a number of companies are interested in the programme," the authoritative military magazine says.
Among the companies is Northrop Grumman, it says.
Jane's says that "Northrop is looking at using a modified version of the Netherlands' RDM Moray-class design that Northrop's Ingalls Shipyard plans to build for the Egyptian Navy."
Bush in April approved the sale of eight diesel-electric submarines as part of Washington's most comprehensive arms package to Taipei since 1992.
The USA has not built conventional submarines for more than 40 years and designing an entirely new one would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore, the most likely solution would involve foreign participation, it says.
To help the clarify the situation, the US Navy set up a Team Diesel Submarine group last September, the weekly says.
"The group subsequently visited Taiwan to assess its requirements and released an informal request for information to industry on 16 October," it says.
Military sources here have said Taiwan's navy favour Germany's 209-class or Dutch-designed Moray submarines.
But both countries have said they would not get involved in arms sales to the island, which Beijing regards as part of its territory to be unified with the mainland by force, if necessary.
A US official was cited by Jane's as saying "such restrictions need not be insurmountable, as the US could get the blueprints from a friendly country that has bought RDM submarines and provide them to the USN."
The weekly says another option involves General Dynamics (GD) participating in the sub programme in co-operation with the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), which is building the Collins-class diesel-electric submarine.
"The GD offering is not expected to be an exact Collins-class design but a modified approach tailored for Taiwan's requirements," it says.
Taiwan's navy currently operates a fleet of four submarines including two Dutch-built Sword Dragon submarines and two aging US vessels.
Click here for more info on the export of Dutch subs to Egypt.
Source: NRC/Menno Steketee 24 Oct 2001
The Malaysian Minister of defence stated that the Malaysian government will acquire two second hand submarines and two new ones. He also stated that the two ex-Dutch submarines off thewill not be part of the deal. This is a major set back for RDM since this Dutch yard counted on the deal and therefore already shipped the two submarines to Malaysia last year. The plan was to refit these subs at the Penang Shipbuilding and Construction-Naval Dockyard before leasing them to the Malaysian Navy.
Last year there was talk that Malaysia intended to sign the lease contract and even wanted to buy two new Dutch Moray submarines (appr. 500 million guilders a piece).
It is reported that RDM is still talking to the highest authorities in order to get this deal closed.
Some other bad news for RDM is that US shipyards might use Dutch blueprints (Seadragon class) in order to help Taiwan getting its submarines. If this plan is realized the US could also offer this design to Egypt, which is an other potential customer for RDM.
|Proposal must be handed in next month|
23 Oct 2001
The U.S. military has requested all the U.S. and European Shipyards to hand in their proposal on Taiwan's SSK issue before the middle of November 2001. There was a meeting held on the 16th of October 2001 already and during that closed door meeting the U.S. has requested all the shipyards send in their proposal by mid November. The official bid will be held on January of 23002. The US Navy has a set of plan/guidelines to be taught for the participating shipyards to avoid PRC's retaliation.
18 Oct 2001
A meeting was held on the 16th in state of Virginia's "Crystal City." It was called the America's Industrial Day Meeting! The meeting was focused upon Taiwan's new submarines and open-bid information regarding the relative news and policy regarding the SSK. Also, a request was issued by U.S. to ask the participated factory/ship builders provide a concept paper plan within a set deadline for entering the bid.
Companies invited included U.S.'s Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics as well as companies from Germany, Holland, Sweden, France, Italy and England's BEA. and others. Taiwan's CSISB was also presented at the meeting.
Of all the Sub builders present at this meeting the Dutch company RDM was the most anxious (at least according to some sources) They had previously typed up a two pages report for this particular case and submitted the report during the meeting. Which rendered other Sub companies objections.
RDM had proposed two plans to help Taiwan and the U.S. to finalize this submarine deal. One plan was the transfer of a Moray blue print and the second plan was the blue print of Sea Dragon / Chien Lung modified class (with soft/hardware updates).
Amongst the company.... Gerlumen? has already merged with Mississippi's Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding), This ship builder had built SSK before in the 50s. At present time, Holland's RDM are working with the Egyptian Navy of possibility using Ingalls shipbuilder to build the subs for Egypt based upon its own blue print.
15 Oct 2001
After the US sub sale project team arrived at Taiwan late September for coordination, Taiwan and the US had reached a consensus on the sale of 8 subs. The planning phase of the project will last 3 years. The US will issue invitations to contractors for participation and select the sub platform and combat systems. The contract will be signed 3 years from now and construction will commence. The construction schedule of the first sub will last between 6 to 9 years. In other words, Taiwan will receive the first sub from the US on 2010 at the earliest.
|Taiwan Wants to Test Waters with More Submarines|
Reuters, Aug. 30, 2001, by Alice Hung.
The crew of Taiwan's Sea Tiger submarine went on combat alert after radars detected a suspicious object. Torpedo tubes were flooded and ready for firing.
It was a routine drill on board the Dutch-made Zwaardvis class submarine, The Sea Tiger, and its identical sister vessel, the Sea Dragon -- Taiwan's only combat-ready submarines.
Taiwan has long sought to upgrade its feeble fleet of four submarines which also includes a pair of Guppy II's -- rusty relics of World War Two.
But nobody has dared deliver the goods to Taiwan since China downgraded relations with the Netherlands from 1981 to 1984 over its sale of the two diesel-electric submarines.
China, for its part, maintains a fleet of about 60 to 70 submarines.
Only a handful are thought to be operational, but Beijing has spent billions of dollars on four Russian Kilo class diesel submarines that give it a clear edge over Taiwan, according to U.S. officials.
China regards Taiwan as a rebel province and has threatened to attack if the island declares independence or delays reunification talks unduly.
"The two (Dutch) submarines are in excellent condition," said Peter Wang, security officer of the Sea Tiger, at a naval base in southern Taiwan. "We are well trained and ready to fight. But we need more."
Taiwan's pleas for more submersibles had been left unanswered until earlier this year when U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to sell eight diesel submarines in the biggest arms sale package in more than a decade.
But months have passed and it is unclear how the United States will provide the vessels because it builds only nuclear submarines, not diesel ones.
A LITTLE HELP FROM FRIENDS
Experts have said the submarines would likely be Dutch-designed and German-built boats equipped with U.S. technology and supplied under a deal brokered by the United States. But the Netherlands and Germany have denied they would export or build submarines for Taiwan.
"We are still talking with the U.S. side," said a Taiwan naval officer who declined to be identified.
Chung Chien, a military expert who teaches in the Armed Forces University, said the United States would likely help the island build the vessels.
A spokesman for Taiwan's state-run China Shipbuilding Corp said the firm could build the submarines -- with help.
Washington also plans to sell Taiwan four Kidd class destroyers and a dozen P-3 "Orion" anti-submarine aircraft.
But the submarines will make the biggest splash.
Officials and analysts agree Taiwan's biggest threat is not conventional warfare, but a Chinese missile attack or naval blockade.
With submarines, Taiwan could thwart an amphibious attack from China and give its navy an offensive capability.
Beijing argues submarines are not defensive weapons and should not be provided under the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act, which obliges Washington to provide the island with enough arms to defend itself.
New submarines could undermine China's three main options for retaking Taiwan -- amphibious assault, naval blockade and missile strikes, defense analysts say.
In combination with Taiwan jet fighters, they could scupper an amphibious assault launched from China's east coast.
But more worrying for Beijing, the submarines could eventually be used to launch cruise missiles to respond to or pre-empt a missile attack from the mainland.
Commander Wang, who has served on board the Sea Tiger since shortly after Taiwan took delivery of the two vessels in 1987, said he was confident the sub would soon get undersea companions.
"We have overcome the biggest obstacle -- the United States has said yes. I have never felt so confident."
|Dutch foreign minister rules out submarine sales|
Taiwan Headlines, May 30 2001.
The Netherlands will not sell submarines to Taiwan in line with its current "one China" policy, an official of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
The official quoted Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen as saying that "any applications for issuing licenses to allow submarine sales to Taiwan will be rejected based upon the Netherlands' 'one China' policy."
According to the spokesman, Aartsen made the remark during a Lower House interpellation session on May 29, during which House members asked whether the Netherlands will be likely to cooperate with the U.S. to sell submarines to Taiwan or help the island build submarines in the future.
In the 1980s, the Netherlands sold two submarines to Taiwan.
The Netherlands has the technology for building diesel-powered submarines, but issuing of licenses for direct or indirect submarine exports to Taiwan will be subject to the "one China" policy, Aartsen noted, adding that in a joint communiqué signed with Beijing in 1984, the authorities in Amsterdam pledged not to sell weaponry to Taipei.
The United States last month offered to sell a large package of arms to Taiwan, including four Kidd-class destroyers, 12 P-3 Orion surveillance planes and eight diesel-powered submarines.
|Rumours of secret German and Dutch plans|
Taipei Times, 3 May 2001.
Though rumors abound of secret German and Dutch plans to build the hulls and ship them to the US for outfitting, it would be a terrible waste of time and money. Though the US might be able to persuade Germany, the Netherlands or Sweden to issue licensing, it does not appear likely in the near future.
|Government and RDM deny possible Taiwanese sub deal|
Various sources 25 Apr 2001.
A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that in 1984 the Netherlands agreed with China not to sell any more weapons to Taiwan. Frank de Bruin, a Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman, said, "The Netherlands maintains a one-China policy. That means no weapons are to be sold to Taiwan or to third parties for resale to Taiwan."
The Dutch RDM company also denied that they might design these subs.
On 24 Apr 2001 USN Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley stated the following:
Q: Are you raising the possibility of building diesel submarines for Taiwan?
Quigley: I don't know the answer to that one yet, Pat. Like I say, first things first. There are a variety of good diesel electric submarine designs available today. You could manufacture them in several different places.
You could do licensing agreements. Just don't know which way that would go.
Q: Craig --
Q: A German diesel submarine --
Quigley: The Germans have a good design. The Dutch have a good design. I believe the Italians -- there are good designs for diesel electric submarines out there.
Q: They would build them, and we would supply them to Taiwan?
Quigley: Don't know that step.
Q: Craig, the Germans and the Dutch are the two main manufacturers of private subs, and both of their governments said today that they haven't even been approached or sounded out on the issue of licenses.
Quigley: Right. That's because we're not to that step yet. The next step, as I've said, is the Taiwanese to express their interest in pursuing this. This is our willingness to approve their request in advance, pre-approval, if you will, should they so desire.
Now there's no requirement for them to -- they take this back. They assess this. They could ask for a smaller number. They could ask for the same number, with particular design details in mind. We just don't know. We're just not to that point.
Q: Well, how do you phrase the offer to them of submarines?
Quigley: Diesel electric submarines, no particular design
|U.S. agrees to help Taiwan with diesel subs|
Various sources 23 Apr 2001.
The Bush administration has agreed to help Taiwan purchase diesel-powered submarines. Because the United States no longer makes that type of sub, it will have to find a friendly third nation, probably the Netherlands or Germany, to provide them.
|Subs for Taiwan. Just a game of politics ?|
E-mail 20 Apr 2001.
According to some U.S. sources there is no way that China will agree with the sale of Submarines (or Aegis cruisers) to Taiwan. These same sources report that Taiwan just wants to set the stakes very high so they have a better chance to get less capable systems, like the Kidd class destroyers, in the end.
|Taiwanese subs will be German OR Dutch|
Taipei Times 23 Apr 2001.
It seems that the Taipei Times can not make up its mind. A few days ago they reported that the subs for Taiwan will be of German design, but today they report the subs will be of German or Dutch design. The Associated Press already reported this on the 18th.
Taipei Times 19 Apr 2001.
The US plans to sell eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan to counter the growing military threat from China, a local newspaper reported yesterday.
Taiwan and US officials are scheduled to meet next week for annual arms sales talks. According to the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday, the US will approve the sale of eight submarines during the talks.
The report, which quoted anonymous sources close to the navy's top decision-makers, said the German-designed submarines will be built in the US.
The vessels have estimated price tag of US$4 billion (NT$128 billion) -- almost half of Taiwan's annual defence budget.
The report follows closely an eight-day visit by ROC Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Li Chieh to the US. Li left for the US on April 6 and returned on Sunday.
Li reportedly raised the issue of the submarine sale during his US trip. The visit was considered by local media to be closely connected with the annual arms talks.
The talks are scheduled to begin next week when Deputy Chief of the General Staff General Ho Shou-yeh leads a delegation to the US.
Erich Shih, an editor at Defence International magazine, agreed that it was likely the long-awaited submarine sale would be approved by the US this year.
"We have been asking for the submarines for many years. The reason we asked the US to sell us German-designed submarines is because Germany does not allow trade in arms with Taiwan," Shih said.
He added that the submarines Taiwan has requested feature an "air-independent" propulsion system that features advanced fuel-cell technology.
Chung Chien, a military analyst at National Tsing Hua University, also recently predicted that the US would sell the submarines to Taiwan soon.
Chung noted that China will finish building its first aircraft carrier this year, and the subs are needed to act as a deterrent.
"The US will surely want us to become their first-line deterrent forces against the growing Chinese military power," he said.
But while the US appears ready to sell Taiwan the diesel submarines, there are signs that Washington is reluctant to approve the sale of AEGIS-equipped destroyers.
Associated Press / Kyodo 18 Apr 2001.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The United States has agreed in principle to sell eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan in what would be a breakthrough for the island’s decade-old efforts to acquire modern submarines, according to published reports.
The eight subs are the top priority on Taiwan’s defence shopping list, ahead of long-range P-3 sub-hunting aircraft and destroyers equipped with Aegis antimissile radar systems, the Chinese-language paper said. The subs would boost Taiwan’s coastal defence against possible attacks from China.
Taiwan’s military attaché in Washington, Maj. Gen. Chen Yung-kang, played a crucial role in hammering out the deal, which is worth an estimated $3-4 billion, the report said, quoting an unnamed source close to key players in it.
The subs, based on German and Dutch designs, will be assembled by General Motors Corp. and Litton Industries Inc. in the United States and tested by the U.S. Navy before being delivered to Taiwan in two batches of four vessels.
The deal will be announced after annual arms talks between Washington and Taipei later this month.
In the past, the island has tried to buy subs from such countries as Russia and Germany, but no deals materialized due to protests from China.
AMI International. Updated – November 1999 HOT NEWS: October 2000.
Program Status: Planned.
Operational Requirement: The Republic of China Navy (ROCN) requires a modern diesel-electric submarine force to oppose an amphibious invasion or a naval blockade of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Program Background: The ROCN has been trying to acquire new diesel-electric submarines since it acquired its two Hai Lung (Zwaardvis) class submarines from the Netherlands in 1987 and 1988. A number of attempts to acquire submarines from Dutch, German, French, Australian, Argentine, Russian and US suppliers have come up short, usually because the supplier’s home Government would not approve a submarine sale to Taiwan. A number of initiatives have been pursued, including:
- Dutch construction. In 1992, the Dutch Government refused to allow Dutch shipyards permission to build submarines destined for the ROCN. This action was reportedly taken to avoid offending the PRC while Fokker was negotiating a large aircraft sale to the mainland. At the time, there were rumoured offers in place involving six Walrus or Moray class submarines for Taiwan in deals variously reported to be valued at US$1.5B, US$4.7B, and £780M. Nothing came of these rumours and, incidentally, no sale was realized between Fokker and the PRC.
Rumours involving Rotterdam Dockyard Company Submarines (RDMS) continue to surface in connection with Taiwan’s submarine requirements. RDMS has been unsuccessfully peddling its Moray design for nearly ten years and, since 1996, it has been trying to sell the two Zwaardvis class submarines decommissioned by the Dutch Navy in 1995 after 23 years of service. In 1996, the Far Eastern Economic Review (18 April 1996 edition) reported that RDMS was negotiating a deal with Taiwan to sell the two Zwaardvis class submarines to Taiwan, but nothing came of the reports. RDMS is in desperate need of work and would welcome the opportunity to export submarines to Taiwan, or simply transfer technology and assist Taiwan in building submarines themselves in country. Most recently, RDMS has been linked with Ingalls Shipbuilding and Lockheed Martin to sell Moray class submarines to Egypt (see below).
In the final analysis, the Dutch Government is unlikely to sanction any arms sales to Taiwan that it believes will hurt its relations with the PRC.
- German construction. In 1993, the Federal Security Council blocked the export of German-built submarine hulls to Taiwan. This was probably in response to a German consortium’s effort to sell submarines (produced by Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) and MEKO class corvettes (produced by Blohm + Voss) to Taiwan as part of a deal valued at DM12.5B. Like the Netherlands, the German Government is unlikely to jeopardize its relations with the PRC by sanctioning direct arms sales with Taiwan.
- French construction. Direction des Constructions Navales International (DCNI) has probably offered Taiwan its Scorpene design, which it sold to Chile. However, any French attempt to sell submarines to Taiwan runs in direct opposition to stated French policy (frequently violated) prohibiting arms sales to Taiwan. France also prohibits defence-related sales to the PRC as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre, but continues civilian sales to the PRC, which is seen as a growth market. France’s official policy precludes arms deals with Taiwan, to avoid offending the PRC, even though the Taiwan defence market probably represents a larger near-term economic opportunity than does the PRC. This is a difficult policy since France's defence industry is realizing major layoffs due to major cutbacks in French naval construction programs and decreased export opportunities. These layoffs are causing significant internal political pressure for the French Government, but France does not appear willing to risk the long-term commercial economic opportunities present in the PRC by concluding major arms sales with Taiwan that represent only short and mid-term successes.
- Argentine construction. In the early 1990s, funding shortfalls led Argentina to suspend work on two TR 1700 class submarines being built under license at Astilleros Domecq Garcia in Buenos Aires. The availability of these two units led to rumours that Taiwan might purchase them. However, in 1996, when the shipyard was sold, the two submarines were 52 and 30 percent complete. Both units were cannibalized for spare parts to support Argentina’s two active duty TR 1700 class submarines.
- Russian construction. Taiwanese interest in acquiring Kilo class submarines from Russia is occasionally reported, once even at the highest level of government. However, the likelihood of Russia jeopardizing its important arms relationship with the PRC makes such a deal very improbable.
- Australian construction. In 1996, Taiwan expressed interest in buying Collins class submarines from the Australian Submarine Company (ASC), but the Australian Government has been firm in their stance that they will not grant an export license for a submarine sale to Taiwan.
- US construction. Repeated reports have emerged, on a yearly basis, of schemes that would have a US shipyard manufacture a European-designed diesel-electric submarine for sale to Taiwan. Over the years, three different scenarios have emerged involving European designs and US shipyards:
An HDW design (either a Type 209/1400 or a Type 2000 design) built by Ingalls Shipbuilding. In the spring of 1998, for the sixth year in a row, the US State Department denied Taiwan's request for Litton-Ingalls to build submarines to a European design (namely an HDW design ). Moreover, US has also refused to allow US firms to assist in equipping, fitting-out, or participating in the mid-life upgrade of submarines built by other countries that are owned or destined for Taiwan. The official reaction from Taiwan's MoND was that ROCN would continue to pursue every channel to procure submarines from abroad (thus indicating the clear preference for foreign construction rather than an indigenous solution).
- An HDW design built by Electric Boat with fitting out by the China Shipbuilding Corporation. In February 1999, Taiwan Defence Review reported that a proposal to build between six and ten HDW Type 209/1400 class submarines at Electric Boat (a division of General Dynamics) was being actively pursued and enjoyed considerable Congressional support. Taiwan's request for submarines was reportedly examined at length by the Clinton Administration, including inputs from the National Security Council, the State Department, the Department of Defence, and US Navy, with a basic consensus reportedly having been reached. This proposal, referred to as the "Indigenous Defensive Submarine (IDS)," envisions an ASW-oriented platform with emphasis on coastal operations. The total value of the program was estimated at US$3-5B, with US content to nominally exceed 50% (in order to comply with the legal requirements for securing Foreign Military Sales status). In addition to hull sections fabrication, US participation would almost certainly include sensors, combat systems, and, possibly, weapons. Under this proposal, final assembly and fit-out will take place in Taiwan at the China Shipbuilding Corporation yards in Kaohsiung, with assistance provided by the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST – the MoND’s primary weapons system development organization).
- A Rotterdam Dockyard Company Submarines (RDMS) design built by Ingalls. At IMDEX ASIA-99, held in Singapore in May of 1999, RDMS teamed with Lockheed Martin Undersea Systems (producer of the SUBICS 900 combat system) and Ingalls Shipbuilding to offer Egypt a submarine solution based on the RDMS Moray design. Should the US approve the sale of submarines to Egypt this would make Ingalls the only US builder of diesel submarines and might open the way for approval of submarines for Taiwan. (See report on Egyptian submarine project.).
The US Navy has been reluctant to support any of these initiatives, partially to protect US technology, and partially to prevent development of a US diesel submarine production capability that might threaten future US Navy nuclear submarine production programs. As of November 1999, the Clinton Administration is unwilling to worsen its shaky relations with the PRC by approving the sale of a new major weapons system to Taiwan. The Republican-controlled Congress is decidedly more inclined to make such sales, but nothing is likely to result so long as the Clinton Administration is in place. A change in administrations could change US policy, especially if a Republican wins the 2000 Presidential election and the Republicans continue to hold power in the Congress. If a Democrat wins the 2000 presidential election, current US policy will continue unless there is a significant worsening of US relations with the PRC.
The Taiwanese government has demonstrated a clear preference for foreign construction rather than embarking on the long, expensive, and technically risky process of developing an indigenous solution. However, the MoND has also announced that it had instructed ROCN to begin serious investigation into the technical feasibility of developing "critical submarine construction technologies". The MoND also indicated that cooperation with foreign sources of technology would not be ruled out. Towards that end, the ROCN, and the Chung Shan Institute of Science & Technology (CSIST) will probably concentrate on the following areas of submarine-related technology: sensors, combat management systems, heavy weight torpedoes, torpedo launching equipment, and fire control system. So far, only the heavy weight torpedo technology demonstration program is known to have been funded.
To date (November 1999), senior ROCN and MoND officials have not been convinced that direct foreign purchase is so hopeless as to warrant the risks (economic, political, and technical) of developing a domestic submarine construction capability. However, given the continued bleak outlook for direct procurement of submarines from foreign builders, a consensus is gradually taking shape within both the Taiwanese military and civilian leadership that Taiwan will ultimately have to develop an indigenous submarine construction capability, if only as a bargaining chip to leverage the release of export license by foreign governments (such as the US). The China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC), eager for additional naval orders, has repeatedly expressed its willingness (and capability) to construct submarines at Kaohsiung, "if given the submarine design plans and sufficient technical support." RDMS, and its Moray class design, is probably the preferred option.
In the spring of 1999 the Taiwanese press reported that the ROCN submarine program has been shelved, or at least indefinitely postponed, to give funding priority to the Aegis surface combatant program. These reports appear to be unsubstantiated, since Taiwan's delegation at the annual US-Taiwan Defence Procurement Conference (held in April/May 1999) continued to press for US release of diesel-electric patrol submarines as one of Taiwan’s highest procurement priorities. Taiwan’s military leadership appears to be strongly in favour acquiring new submarines. In a 1999 interview, General Tang Fei, Taiwan’s Minister of Defence, said "Submarine acquisition has been one our top priorities in force planning and we will continue to keep contact with commercial sales channels to enhance our deterrent capabilities." Moreover, the new Taiwanese Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Lee Jye, himself a submariner, has long been a strong proponent of the submarine program. Taiwan has reportedly prepared for special appropriations to provide funding for both the submarine and Aegis programs (should both come to fruition), if necessary.
Program Acquisition Plan: The ROCN would like to expand its submarine force from four submarines (its current force level) to twelve submarines. Assuming the imminent decommissioning of the two older Guppy II class submarines (commissioned into US Navy service in 1945 and 1946), a procurement of ten submarines will be needed to meet the targeted force level.
At this point in time, the ROCN does not have a formal submarine acquisition program in place. However, the Government is reportedly willing to budget up to US$5B for ten units once a source can be identified. As a best guess estimate, Taiwan will not get approval from the US for a submarine construction program before 2001 (assuming, for the sake of planning, a major US Government policy shift with a new administration in the White House). At that point, it will probably take at least six years before either Electric Boat or Ingalls Shipbuilding can produce the first unit of the class. Based on those planning assumptions, the following acquisition plan, for a buy of ten units valued at US$500M each, is projected:
First of Class Commissions 2007
Hull Two Commissions 2009
Hull Three Commissions 2010
Hulls Four and Five Commission 2012
Hulls Six and Seven Commission 2013
Hulls Eight and Nine Commission 2014
Hull Ten Commissions 2015
Any delay in US Government approval will delay the process accordingly. Should Taiwan decide to develop an indigenous submarine construction capability it will probably take ten years to commission the first submarine.
Design and Construction Considerations: Specific desires in particular submarine designs are of a secondary nature, when Taiwan is hard-pressed to find a country willing to sell new construction submarines to them.
At this point, the most likely design options for the ROCN appear to be the HDW Type 209/1400 (produced in the US by either Ingalls Shipbuilding or Electric Boat) or the Moray (produced in the US by Ingalls or indigenously in Taiwan by China Shipbuilding Corporation).
For reference purposes, the technical characteristics of the Type 209/1400 and the Moray are shown below.
Ship Characteristics: Figures listed below are for the RDMS Moray design.
Vessel Type Submarine Country Taiwan Program Future submarine Total Number 10 Unit Cost (US$) 500M (Est.) Builder Ingalls Shipbuilding or China Shipbuilding Corporation using the RDMS Moray design. Displ. Tons 1,595 (submerged) Length 57m (187ft) Beam 6.4m (20.9ft) Draft 5.4m (17.7ft) Machinery Diesel-electric: Three diesels; one shaft; one propeller. (Est.) Speed (Knots) 12 (surfaced or snorting); 20 submerged. (Est.) Range 9,000nm (surfaced/snorting): 300 (submerged). (Est.) Diving Depth 300m (984.2ft) (Est.) Complement 25 (including 5 officers) (Est.) Weapons Torpedoes: Six 21 inch (533mm) tubes with a weapons load-out of 18 torpedoes (Mk 37) or Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles. Missiles SSM: Harpoon. CMS/Fire Control Lockheed Martin SUBICS 900. (Est.) Radar Surface search: Open. Countermeasures ESM: Open. Sonar Open. Probably bow-mounted cylindrical and flank arrays; intercept and mine avoidance. Periscope Open. Probably Kollmorgen Model 76 Attack and Search periscopes.
Ship Characteristics: Figures listed below are for the HDW Type 209/1400 design.
Vessel Type Submarine Country Taiwan Program Future submarine Total Number 10 Unit Cost (US$) 500M (Est.) Builder Ingalls Shipbuilding or Electric Boat using the HDW Type 209/1400 design. Displ. Tons 1260 (surfaced); 1440 (submerged). Length 61.3m (200.1ft) Beam 6.2m (20.3ft) Draft 5.5m (18ft) Machinery Diesel-electric: Four diesels; one shaft. Speed (Knots) 12 (surfaced or snorting); 21.5 (submerged). Range 8200nm at 8 kts (surfaced); 400nm at 4 kts (submerged). Diving Depth Complement 39 (including 7 officers). Weapons Torpedoes: eight 21-inch (533mm) bow tubes; swim-out discharge. Missiles SSM: Harpoon. CMS/Fire Control Open Radar Surface search: Open. Countermeasures ESM: Open. Sonar Open. Probably bow-mounted cylindrical and flank arrays; intercept and mine avoidance. Periscope Open. Probably Kollmorgen Model 76 Attack and Search periscopes.
|Diesel subs for Taiwan.|
USNI Proceedings March 1999.
RDM is said still to be in the running for Taiwan's planned construction of up to a dozen diesel submarines (despite previous Netherlands government prohibition against military sales to Taiwan), although a new competitor was reported in January 1999 in the form of a plan to fabricate German-designed submarine sections at Electric Boat for delivery to Taiwan for final assembly.
Hong Kong Standard 1 Oct 1997.
Taipei: Taiwan may build its own submarines following the island's failure to purchase weapons to fend off Beijing's military threats, it was claimed on Tuesday. The repeated setbacks in acquiring diesel-fuelled submarines from the world's major arms supplying countries have prompted naval authorities to take another look at plans to construct submarines using transferred technology, the United Daily News reported.
Under the proposal, a fleet of six to 10 submarines would be built, with each weighing up to 2,000 tons.
Military spokesman General Kung Fan-ding said ``building the naval vessels we need is our established policy'', adding that ``evaluation (for the plan) has gotten under way''.
The state-run China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC) said the experience it had accumulated in constructing frigates would enable it to build submarines. The CSBC has delivered five frigates for the navy, with two outstanding ones. Military observers said it would take the CSBC at least seven years to build the first submarine.
) (Swordfish) in the North Sea.
The navy operates four submarines, including two Dutch-built Swordfish submarines and two obsolete United States submarines.
Taipei wanted to buy at least six full-sized submarines from the Netherlands but was rejected after Beijing downgraded diplomatic ties with the Dutch.
|R.D.M 'Taiwan project' reviewed.|
Janes F.S. 1996 - 1997.
R.D.M. may be allowed to deliver sections for assembly in a third country.
|The Germans say no,and the Dutch wiggle on submarines.|
Taiwan Communiqué February 1993.
On 26 January 1993, the German government in Bonn buckled under political pressure from Peking, and decided against giving approval for a proposed sale of up to ten submarines and ten frigates to Taiwan. German shipyards had been in competition with the Dutch RDM shipyard company for the submarines.
In the meantime, the Dutch shipyard intensified its lobbying effort with the Dutch government to gain approval to build the submarines, preferably in the Netherlands itself, but if that was not possible due to the political sensitivity, the shipyard wanted to build the submarines in Taiwan with Dutch assistance.
However, the Dutch authorities continued to wiggle on the issue, fearing political repercussions from China and economic reprisals against Dutch companies vying for orders in the People™s Republic if they agree to the deal too openly.
|The Netherlands,those submarines again.|
In the Netherlands, the impending sale of French Mirages rekindled the discussion on the possible sale of submarines to Taiwan. On 19 February 1992, the Dutch Government had rejected a proposal by the Rotterdam Shipyard RDM to sell up to six submarines. In the early 1980's the Dutch had approved the sale of two Swordfish class submarines, which were delivered by the Wilton Fijenoord shipyard in 1986-87.
One of the Dutch arguments of the February rejection was that no other European countries were selling military equipment to Taiwan. However, the Dutch parliament accepted a resolution by opposition member Tommel (Democrats'66 Party), which stated that RDM should receive the export license for the submarines, if at any time in the future other EC member states would also decided to sell military equipment to Taiwan. The French Mirage decision means that a reversal of the earlier decision is now possible.
In the meantime, the RDM shipyard had continued its discussions with the Taiwan Navy, and in September 1992 signed a letter of intent to build the submarines in Taiwan with Dutch assistance. However, this would take an additional three years, since it would require the construction of a shipyard in Taiwan, capable of building of the submarines. This would lead to a delivery date for the first submarine in the year 2000 - a bit on the late side for the Taiwanese Navy.
|Dutch bow to china,cancel $1.5 billion Taiwan sub deal.|
Japan Times 16 Jan 1992.
's-Gravenhage: The Netherlands stopped a $1.5 billion sale Friday of four submarines to Taiwan, saying it will abide by an agreement with China not to sell arms to the Nationalist-ruled island. Disappointment over the loss of the sale was tempered by a $250 million order from China for seven Dutch-built Fokker 100 jetliners and a promise of increased trade with Beijing. Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers said his Cabinet had decided not to grant a license for the export of the submarines because this would have breached a 1984 agreement that ended an earlier row with China over the sale of two subs to Taiwan. "We are adhering to the joint communiqué from 1984 and therefore we will not grant a license for the delivery of submarines," Lubbers told a news conference. China angrily withdrew its ambassador to the Netherlands in 1981 to protest the sale of two Dutch submarines to Taiwan, which it regards as a rebel province. Full diplomatic ties were restored in 1984 after the Netherlands, which formally recognizes China's sovereignty over the island, agreed to halt military exports to Taiwan. Lubbers told reporters Dutch officials recently won assurances from Beijing that it would honour another part of that agreement- to step up bilateral trade. The government said Friday that Economics Minister Koos Andriessen would visit China shortly to discuss business opportunities for Dutch companies. Lubbers said the Netherlands' concern over human rights violations in China was no ground for tearing up the agreement with Beijing and resuming arms sales to Taiwan. "That would have been poor reasoning... a rather weak argument," he said. The loss of the submarine order was a blow for the Rotterdam Dockyard Co., which had been negotiating with Taiwan's navy for five years. The company, part of the Begemann engineering group, needed the order badly to save jobs and help it make a difficult transition from military to civilian production. Aircraft builder Fokker was delighted with the order for seven of its planes from the China Eastern airline. "It is really a breakthrough," said Fokker spokesman Bart van Veen. "We think it is the start of lots more to come." Some politicians and businessmen questioned favouring China over Taiwan. saying Dutch exports to China have fallen since 1984 while those to Taiwan have doubled. They also commented that Taiwan has introduced democratic reforms while China has clamped down on dissent since the killing of democracy activists in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.
|More Dutch submarines? for Taiwan yes, ROC no!|
Taiwan Communiqué December 1991.
In October 1991, press reports in the Netherlands indicated that the Dutch authorities and parliament are seriously considering new feelers by the authorities in Taiwan for the purchase of six submarines.
The issue of submarines for Taiwan was a hot political topic in the Netherlands in 1980-81 and again in 1983. On the first occasion the Dutch Cabinet approved the sale of two submarines, to be built by the Schiedam shipyard Wilton Fijenoord. It almost cause the fall of the Dutch Cabinet, and led to a downgrading of diplomatic relations with China. On the second occasion, the Cabinet turned down a request for two to four more submarines, arguing that the first time around it had given its word to do it only once.
Proponents of the sale now argue that in 1991 the situation is quite different: 1) since 4 June 1989, the repression of the 'Tienanmenl' democratic student movement, the international political stature of China has decreased considerably and doesn't count as much as before. 2) the volume of trade with China - once considered a promising appetizer - has hardly grown, while trade with Taiwan has grown to double that of China. 3) Other nations have started to improve trade relations with Taiwan, and some - like France - have decided to make major military sales (16 frigates) without any repercussions in their relations with China.
Taiwan Communiqué comment: we advice the Dutch Cabinet and Parliament to proceed, but with caution. The sale might still lead to considerable tension in the area because the Taipei authorities still claim themselves to be government of all of China. In addition, Prime Minister Hau Pei-tsun is a former four-star general, while in the legislature in Taipei old mainlanders 'representing China' still hold a majority.
It would be prudent to await the results of the upcoming National Assembly elections and see if the Taipei authorities are really serious with moving forward with the democratic process. If Mr. Hau stays in power, Taipei continues to cling to calling itself 'Republic of China' (ROC), and the changes in the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly are merely cosmetic, then the submarine sale would increase tension and should be rejected.
However, if after December 21st, President Lee Teng-hui really moves ahead, drops the claim to sovereignty over China, and steers the island in the direction of a free, democratic, and independent Taiwan, then the Dutch could go ahead and approve the submarine sale.
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