Taiwan's CSBC model of a teardrop hull style future submarine possibility (above) displayed at the 2016 arms exhibition in Taiwan. (Photo courtesy Jane’s)
Notice this model's striking similarity with Taiwan's current teardrop hull style Hai Lung/Chien Lung class, submarines (below). This does suggest some reverse engineering is anticipated.
Cut away of Taiwan's latest 2 submarines of the Hai Lung/Chien Lung class, commissioned in 1987-88 (Diagram courtesy Dutch Submarines . com)
From 15 to 18 September 2016, at Taiwan’s Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defence Exhibition, Taiwan was indicating it is getting more realistic about building 4 to 8 tear drop style submarines. Taiwan's Indigenous Defence Submarine Project is known as the "Qianlong Project".
Taiwan’s China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) created a new submarine design division (known as the Submarine Development Center of CSBC (SDCC)) in August 2016. CSBC aims to put itself in a good position to design and build the subs. Although Taiwanese officials stressed the model (above) is not representative of the final design the model looks surprisingly like an evolution of the class of Taiwan’s 2 operational Hai Lung/Chien Lung class submarines.
The design contract, which is understood to be worth around US$95 million, is expected to be issued by the Taiwanese government before the end of 2016 and may run until 2019. [see Jane’s]
Taiwan’s Ming Rong Yuan Business Co., LTD. ("one of the world's largest manufacturers of pressure vessels") has joined forces with various domestic research institutes to develop underwater vehicle and hull components, an important early step in submarine development.
Ming Rong Yuan Business Co., LTD, at this Kaohsiung arms exhibition, exhibited a miniature model made of high strength low alloy (HSLA) pressure hull steel. HSLA-80 alloy steel has properties making it "easy to handle" [HSLA-80 steel may be same/similar to]. The HSLA-80 alloy steel is actually produced by Taiwan's China Steel Corporation. [Based on the Exhibition Media Release via MarketWired].
MIGHT JAPAN ASSIST?
Taiwan and Japan both have geo-strategic concerns over the same "enemy" China. So Japan may be less susceptible to the Chinese pressure that has been stopping other countries from assisting Taiwan to build new submarines.
If Taiwan were to utilise a less sensitive, less expensive, established, teardrop design and Taiwan supplied the steel might Japan want to assist? In assisting with an older design (perhaps as an export model) Japan wouldn't be putting its more advanced Soryu submarine secrets at risk.
This is noting Japan (inspired by the US Barbel class) developed and used the Uzushio class teardrop style submarine between late 1960s to 1996.
It is advantageous, in terms of reducing US technology transfer concerns, that the US Barbel class was the parent design for the Uzushio class and the Dutch Zwaardvis class (which in turn led to Taiwan's Hai Lung/Chien Lung class).
Japan's no longer used Uzushio class (teardrop style) submarines. (Photo courtesy seaforces(dot)org).