Taiwan has launched its first domestically-built submarine on Sept. 28, 2023, the Hai Kun, marking a significant milestone in its efforts to replace an aging naval capability.
The diesel-electric attack submarine, named after a mythical sea creature in Chinese folklore, was launched at the CSBC Shipyard in Kaohsiung, Australia.
The launch ceremony was attended by Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and comes seven years after Taiwan first decided to build its own submarines to replace the four elderly submarines currently operated by the Republic of China Navy (ROCN).
The Hai Kun has an X-rudder configuration for operations in shallow waters and is 70 meters long.
Taiwan has received significant foreign assistance in building the submarine, with 40% of components being local. The UK government has granted licenses to companies to export $200 million worth of submarine technology and parts to Taiwan, and retired engineers from Japan’s Mitsubishi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries were believed to have provided technical support.
Taiwan is seeking to build eight submarines, with the Hai Kun expected to be commissioned into the ROCN in 2025 after sea trials.