What you need to know
Watch out China, Taiwan’s subs are about to pack a punch.
After years of prevarication, the U.S. government is reported to have finally agreed to sell Mark-48 (Mk-48) heavyweight torpedoes to Taiwan.
Made by Raytheon Corp, the Mk-48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedo can be used against a variety of targets in deep-water and littoral environments.
The torpedoes will be outfitted onto Taiwan’s two combat-ready Hai Lung-class (“Sea Dragon”) attack submarines.
“Software-based guidance and control enables autonomous operation, ‘fire and forget’ tactics, simultaneous multiple target engagement and close-in attack,” the manufacturer states on its website. It can also be controlled via wire link.
Acquired from the Netherlands in the 1980s, the Hai Lungs will soon undergo life-extension work. The upgrade contract was recently awarded to U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Co. The subs are also to be armed with UGM-84L Sub-launched Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles.
U.S.-based Defense News first reported the news, citing an unnamed Taiwan Ministry of National Defense official. Neither Taipei nor Washington, D.C., has confirmed the matter. It is not known how many Mk-48 torpedoes would be included in the deal.
Late last month, local media reported that the Tsai administration had included funds for the procurement of MK-48 ADCAP torpedoes in its 2017 budget, which is pending approval by the legislature.
The U.S., Australian, Canadian and Dutch navies currently include the Mk-48 in their arsenals.
Taiwan has also embarked on the ambitious, multi-billion-dollar Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program, which aims to build a total of 8 -10 attack submarines over a decade, with foreign assistance.
Edited by Olivia Yang