〔記者洪定宏／高雄報導〕台船公司今天發布新聞稿指出，總統蔡英文交付台船執行史無前例的「潛艦國造」任務，雖然過程中外界多所揣測、評價，無論正面肯定抑或是曲解錯誤認知，台船仍全力、全工時趕工，目標明（2023）年9月下水。據了解，國造潛艦原型艦的設計藍圖即有700多份，並採用雙殼、部分單殼的混合艦殼，以及Ｘ型尾舵的構型設計，總排水量2000餘噸，可搭載MK48 MOD6 AT重型魚雷及潛射魚叉反艦飛彈，有效反制中共水面艦艇。
Even though Taipei appears full of doom and gloom over President Tsai’s electoral defeats during the recent local elections, future historians will study this ‘indigenous’ Taiwanese submarine project as an example of her administration’s success.
If the project proves successful, President Tsai and her team would have overcome decades – since the 1960s – of American, Chinese communist, China KMT interference and sabotage against a Taiwanese submarine fleet. No doubt rapidly shifting geopolitical realities enabled the change in American policy. This shift then brought along critical technology from other democratic allies, the UK, maybe South Korea, maybe Japan, and others. I remain fascinated and a bit confused at the relatively muted reactions from the Chinese communists and their allies inside Taiwan – is this because they have other problems and crises to deal with, or do they have other angles?
What remains true is this, if we compare the three democratically elected Taiwanese presidents, Lee, Chen, and Tsai – a bureaucracy of Taiwan’s central government, particularly the national security establishment, ensconced in decades of China KMT party-state external authoritarian occupation, a similar project under Presidents Lee and Chen that did not leak like a sieve would have been unimaginable. The relative success of the Tsai administration in preventing the vestiges of the authoritarian bureaucracy from sabotaging this project has been a noticeable success in Taiwan’s democratic consolidation.
As to whether or not these ‘indigenous’ (even a global empire like the US can no longer manufacture high-end weapons without global supply chains and know-how, much less Taiwan ….) submarines will deter and defeat a Chinese invasion – are eight enough? Should they be paired with unmanned underwater vehicles? Should they be armed with defensive and offensive ordinances? Are they linked with other Taiwanese military units as well as US and Japanese units? Maybe the first step in a genuine democratization of the Taiwanese military is to have an open national debate on why the Taiwanese Navy has been circling in step since the 1990s – unable to match the surface nor subsurface fleets of the region? In this, I suspect advice and know-how from American and Japanese officers will play a critical role in ensuring the money invested in hardware such as submarines will be properly deployed during a future war to defend Taiwanese sovereignty and democracy – a kind of AUKUS+ regional submarine chain – Australian and Japanese long-range submarines plus smaller Taiwanese and others to contain the China threat. This is also where the significance of the US NDAA is never about money or hardware/weapons per se, but the infusion of American expertise into the stagnate and reactionary Taiwan national security establishment. 27.12.2022
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