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Taiwan unveils first domestically built submarine amid military modernization and buildup meant to deter a Chinese invasion –

Written by on 02/10/2023

Taiwan unveils first domestically built submarine amid military modernization and buildup meant to deter a Chinese invasion

Taiwan has officially launched its first domestically manufactured military submarine as it moves to fully modernize its armed forces amid a military buildup to deter the growing aggression of the Chinese Communist Party.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Republic of China Navy (ROCN) christened the Hai Kun, the first of at least eight new submarines to be borne from its Indigenous Defense Submarine program. (Related: Reports: Advanced Chinese nuclear submarine crashed in Taiwan Strait.)

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the launch ceremony in the southern port city of Kaohsiung. The ROCN briefly explained that Hai Kun describes a mythical giant flying fish popular in classical Chinese literature. English translations describe the “hai kun” as a narwhal.

“History will forever remember this day,” said Tsai during the ceremony. “In the past, a domestically-made submarine was considered impossible, but today a submarine designed and built by our countrymen is in front of you. It is the concrete realization of our resolution to protect Taiwan.”

Tsai added that the new submarine and the seven others to be constructed will play an important role in strengthening the ROCN’s “asymmetric warfare” capabilities.

“Even if there are risks, and no matter how many challenges there are, Taiwan must take this step and allow the self-reliant national defense policy to grow and flourish on our land,” said Tsai.

The Hai Kun will be undergoing pre-service trials starting on Oct. 1 before being delivered to the ROCN before the end of 2024. The ROCN wants the Hai Kun to enter active service by 2025, but delays could move the navy’s timetable up by a year.


A second submarine of the same class is already under construction and is expected to enter service in 2027.

Taiwan racing to modernize and expand submarine fleet

The ROCN currently operates a fleet of four aging submarines, consisting of a pair of Dutch-made Hai Lung-class submarines and a pair of American-made Hai Shih-class submarines. The Hai Ling submarines were built in the 1980s, while the Hai Shih submarines were built in the late 1940s and given extensive upgrades before being commissioned as ROCN vessels in the 1970s.

Reports from Taiwan indicate that each submarine costs NT$49.3 billion ($1.54 billion). Taiwanese company China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) has been contracted by the government in Taipei to build the submarines.

The Hai Kun is the result of the Indigenous Defense Submarine program launched in 2016. It is around 260 feet long and has a displacement of between 2,460 to 2,950 tons. The Hai Kun is believed to feature some form of air-independent propulsion system, which can greatly increase the time it can stay submerged and make it harder to detect on military radar and sonar.

CSBC Chairman Cheng Wen-lon noted that around 40 percent of the submarine features domestically sourced materials and technology. Most of its advanced technologies are provided by numerous foreign contractors with long and solid experience in the submarine industry, including combat mission systems and armaments from American defense contractors.

At least six other countries, including the United Kingdom, have also provided help. Taiwan also reportedly reached out to engineers, technicians and former naval officers from Australia, Canada, India, Spain and South Korea to help with the submarine

Learn more about the threats facing Taiwan from China at

Watch this clip from Red Voice Media warning of massively increasing Chinese military activity around Taiwan.

This video is from the Red Voice Media channel on

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