TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan launched its first domestically produced submarine in Kaohsiung City on Thursday (Sept. 28).
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) presided over the launch ceremony for the Hai Kun (海鯤), or "Narwhal" in English, at CSBC Corporation’s Kaohsiung shipyard. She performed the bottle-breaking ritual and named the submarine, which means "giant fish" in Chinese.
National Security Council Secretary General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), American Institute in Taiwan Director Sandra Oudkirk, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and other dignitaries attended the ceremony, CNA reported.
Only the bow of the Hai Kun was exposed, and sensitive facilities such as torpedo tubes were covered with the Taiwan flag. The event also featured a time-lapse construction video of the prototype submarine, and demonstrations of submersion and simulated underwater explosions.
"History will remember this day," Tsai said in her speech. She said that domestically manufacturing submarines was once considered an impossible task, but now a submarine built in Taiwan was here for everyone to see. "Everyone, we did it," she said.
She added that submarines are a concrete embodiment of resolutely protecting the country. They are also important strategic and tactical equipment for the navy to develop asymmetric combat capabilities and set a new milestone for Taiwan's defense independence.
The construction of the submarine started in November 2020 and faced many challenges, but finally came to fruition after the collaboration of the CSBC Corporation, the Navy, and friendly nations. Unlike Taiwan's previous submarines, which have cross-shaped rudders, the Hai Kun features an X-shaped rudder.
The Mandarin name of the submarine comes from "Free and Easy Wandering," the first chapter of Chinese philosopher Chuang-Tzu's eponymous work, which refers to a massive mythical fish that can also fly.
Launch ceremony for Hai Kun. (CNA photo)