June 1, 2017

Dutch firm maybe breaking China's "No help Taiwan submarine" ban

Over the years Submarine Matters has written several articles (including this February 5, 2014 articleabout Taiwan's dreams of foreign assistance to build or import new submarines for the Taiwanese Navy. Years ago the Bush (Jnr) Administration promised Taiwan some new conventional subs - problem is (and was) the US no longer builds conventional subs. Non-US countries do not have the US' political power to defy China by supplying Taiwan with submarines. 

For more than 20 years China has used political and economic pressure on foreign companies and countries to prevent them designing and/or building new submarines for Taiwan. China is likely to be displeased with the Netherlands' company below unless China sees some offsetting benefit.

In a move involving considerable Dutch courage [1] the Netherlands' RH Marine company is to carry out some much needed electronics upgrades [probably including the combat system] to Taiwan's 2 Dutch built Chien Lung (aka Hai-Lung) class submarines.

Taiwan's Chinese-language Liberty Times commented ""This will also be helpful for the program to build home-grown submarines,” 

In the same article the Taiwanese Navy aimed to reduce Chinese concerns. The Navy  "stressed that the Dutch company’s participation in the upgrade program “is unrelated to [Taiwan's domestic submarine design and construction] program.”

On the RH Marine website. Perhaps this display could play a role in a submarine's combat system?



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

According to Chinese newspater [1], Taiwan cannot build its indigenous submarine, because western governments did not agree patent licensing of pressure hull manufacturing, because they feared wrath of China. This paper suggested purchasing crapped J-submarine such as Harushio class. Another Chinese newspaper [2] said Taiwan did not have five basic technologies, such as AIP, silent propulsion system, sonar system, torpedo tube and periscope.

It is not clear whether JMSDF still have Harushio class, but, if Japan sells used submarine, some innocent Japanese business men or engineers in China will be suddenly arrested as spy or bribery.

[1] http://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20170306004931-260407

As a result, the submarine group formed by the Navy and the Taiwanese ship went to the Netherlands in early February (2017), but the shipyard authorized by the government said that the sale of submarines to the government was to the government, so the hull patent was owned by the Dutch government and it was not possible, Shipyard in the form of sold to Taiwan; after the group went to Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom to discuss patent licensing, but all was rejected.

[2] http://www.storm.mg/article/246897


MHalblaub said...

China may be not aware of the fact that submarines are a 19th century technology.
All these things Taiwan does not need: AIP, silent propulsion system, sonar system, torpedo tube and periscope.
A periscope could be replaced by a non penetrating mast. A torpedo tube is required for reloads. A basic sonar system is not rocket science. A lithium battery only submarine is quit and has an AIP.

Taiwan has to defend itself from an invasion. So many small submarines are required to run havoc among an enemy fleet.


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous and MHalblaub

Yes it looks like Taiwan should not spend $100 Billion and 20 years to build a submarine industry. No-one will buy Taiwanese subs.

Taiwan does not need subs that can travel 6,000 nautical miles or an obsolete technology Harushio class hull.

Taiwan basically needs to defend the Taiwan Strait and other littorals around Taiwan.

So for Taiwan a small craft would indeed be adequate.

I would say a "squadron" of 30 UUVs with warheads and many fixed and mobile mines would be far more useful than 6 full sized submarines.



Anonymous said...

Right now, Taiwan is so hard up for subs, that they're even modernizing one of their
old GUPPY boats:

"On Jan. 21, 2017, Taiwan announced that the 72-year-old SS-791 Hai Shih, or Sea Lion,
will receive a retrofit allowing it to continue sailing until 2026. The $19 million
retrofit will be to improve the hull and the diesel vessel’s “navigational elements,”
Taiwan News reported.

Eight-zero. That’s a remarkable lifespan for a submarine, and the Hai Shih is already
the oldest submarine still in service with a navy anywhere in the world — she looks like
she traveled decades into the future through a wormhole.

Before she was Hai Shih, she was the U.S. Navy submarine USS Cutlass, a 1,570-ton
Tench-class vessel that launched on Nov. 5, 1944 during World War II. Her wartime
service was brief, and Cutlass didn’t reach her first patrol zone near the Kuril
Islands until the day after Japan capitulated."




The Taiwanese are also getting new weapons for their newer Dutch-built subs:

"The Advanced Capability torpedo will be outfitted on Taiwan’s two remaining combat
attack submarines after they undergo a life extension program upgrade.

Taiwan procured two Dutch-built Sea Dragon-class (Zwaardvis Mk 2) submarines in the
late 1980s. The recent $200 million procurement of 32 UGM-84L Sub-launched Harpoon
Block II anti-ship missiles will also give the Dutch-built submarines a bigger punch."




The idea that Taiwan should procure mini-subs has been brought up before:

Taiwanese 130 ton Special Forces midget submarine design:



But it looks like Taiwan will try to built 8 larger submarines indigenously:

Taiwan to build 8 submarines under indigenous shipbuilding project:


I wonder how that's going to work out for them?

Anonymous said...

"I would say a "squadron" of 30 UUVs with warheads"

You mean like a shore-based version of the Atlas Elektronik SeaHake Mod4 ER torpedo?:


Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 5/6/17 5:29 PM]

Yes the SeaHake precisely. As the useful source http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/long-range-torpedos-and-anti-ship.html that you've identified indicates:

The SeaHake:

- has the range, 140km, to make Taiwanese happy and Chinese sad, and

- SeaHake resolves the usual UUV command and control weakness by being remote controlled via its optical fibre cable.

Just read http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/long-range-torpedos-and-anti-ship.html Taiwanese and quietly acquire SeaHakes.

You'll save 50 to 100 $Billion on NOT bothering with a dead-end submarine program. I guarantee it as a scholar and gent.