Submarines: December 21, 2002


The U.S. is dangling a $4.5 billion contract in front of U.S. ship builders. There's just one catch, they have to build eight diesel electric submarines. The U.S. has offered to supply these subs to Taiwan, which has been unable to obtain them from the usual European suppliers because of pressure from China. No U.S. shipyard has built a diesel electric sub since the 1950s, when America switched to nuclear propulsion for all its subs. The most likely solution for this is that the American firm that wins the contract will hire Dutch and German engineers and managers with diesel electric sub building experience. China will still howl, but it will be more difficult for China to get its way when private individuals are concerned. 


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