Forget designing and building stealth fighters or robot aircraft. They are not the toughest technological design challenges in the world of weaponry. The hardest weapons to develop are large, armed submarines. They are, after all, the closest equivalent to spacecraft, with the added requirement that they be largely autonomous — that is, functional while cut off from the outside world — and support large numbers of people. Even the Royal Navy, no stranger to submarines, had to call in U.S. assistance to build its latest Astute-class subs.
So when Taiwan says they’re going to design new diesel-electric submarines from scratch, it’s wise to be skeptical.