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Taiwan to conduct final harbor acceptance tests on first domestic sub

02/26/2024 12:33 PM
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Taiwan's first domestically built submarine prototype "Narwhal" is seen at its lauching ceremony in this CNA file photo
Taiwan's first domestically built submarine prototype "Narwhal" is seen at its lauching ceremony in this CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) Shipbuilder CSBC Corp., Taiwan will conduct a series of final tests on Taiwan's first domestically built submarine prototype "Narwhal," starting Tuesday as part of its ongoing harbor acceptance test (HAT) before it moves onto the sea acceptance test (SAT), a source told CNA Sunday.

Known as "Hai Kun" (海鯤號) in Chinese, Narwhal has been undergoing the HAT since last October at a CSBC factory in Kaohsiung, the unnamed source familiar with the situation said.

The submarine was officially named by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during its launch ceremony in late September.

On Tuesday, the prototype is set to be moved to the nearby Jong Shyn floating dock No. 8 before being transferred to a dry dock where it will undergo the final stage of the HAT, including an inclining test, the source said.

An inclining test is a test performed on a vessel to determine its stability and the coordinates of its center of gravity.

Only after successful completion of the HAT will the prototype move onto the SAT, the source added.

A separate military source, meanwhile, said that neither CSBC nor the Navy had set a deadline for SAT completion of May 20 -- when President Tsai leaves office -- as has been reported in some local media.

"We are not setting any timetable to complete the SAT. Everything is to be done by the book to ensure the prototype's safety and quality," the unnamed military source told CNA.

The clarifications from the two unnamed sources came after multiple local news outlets reported that the recent establishment of the Jong Shyn floating dock No. 8 near Kaohsiung Harbor could mean that the Narwhal SAT was working to meet the May 20 deadline.

Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光), the leader of Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program responsible for the Narwhal launch, previously told local media that the prototype will complete both the HAT and SAT before being delivered to the Navy at some point before the end of 2024.

After completing the required combat readiness tests by the Navy, Narwhal will hopefully be commissioned into the Navy next year, according to Huang.

The IDS program also aims to build another domestic submarine by 2027.

The construction of the domestic submarines means Taiwan's Navy will have a total of three combat-ready submarines by 2025 and four by 2027, including two existing Chien Lung-class (Sword Dragon) submarines purchased from the Netherlands in the 1980s.

Taiwan also possesses two World War II vintage submarines purchased from the United States in the 1970s, but they are now used exclusively for training purposes.

(By Joseph Yeh)


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