One of the most relevant naval news this week has come from Taiwan and in the form of a submarine: the first of the Hai Kun class.
In the midst of a wave of threats from the communist dictatorship in Beijing, yesterday free China presented its first nationally built military submarine: the ROCS Hai Kun (SS-711), whose name refers to a huge fish from Chinese mythology. The ship is about 70 meters long and has a displacement of about 2,500 tons. It is a diesel-electric attack submarine and will be armed with 530 mm Mark 48 torpedoes.
The Taiwanese company CSBC Corporation has the order to build eight conventionally powered attack submarines. For its design and construction, and as the Republic of China has no previous experience in the construction of this type of ships, engineers, technicians and former naval officers from Australia, Canada, South Korea, Spain, the United States, India and the United Kingdom, which have contributed to this project by advising the manufacturing company and the Republic of China Navy at the shipyard in the port city of Kaohsiung, as published by Reuters in 2021.
As that agency noted then, following its usual diplomatic line Communist China threatened the countries of the experts who have participated in the project, stating that they are "playing with fire, and those who play with fire they will be burned." Personally I am glad that Spanish experts have collaborated in the construction of a submarine for free China, the only China in which today there is democracy, free elections, religious freedom and the civil rights of a free society. Spain already has a long experience in shipbuilding, which has also been reflected in the new submarines S-80 of the Spanish Navy.
Regarding the new submarine, the Republic of China Navy has highlighted that it is a difficult-to-detect ship, specially designed for "surprise attacks and depth attacks", and added: "In the future, it will become into a powerful force."
The first announcement that Taiwan would build its own submarines was released in 2014, and then it was already announced that the project would have official support from the United States, despite the fact that this Asian country has not had official diplomatic relations with Washington since 1979, by a decision by then-president Jimmy Carter, undoubtedly one of the most clumsy decisions of American diplomacy in its entire history. Despite this, The US maintains a defense agreement with Taiwan against a possible attack by communist China. That is, perhaps, the only reason why Beijing has never dared to carry out its invasion threats against Taiwan, whose territory has never been under the rule of the Chinese communist dictatorship.
Currently, the ROC Navy has 128 ships built in Taiwan, the United States, the Netherlands, France and Italy. This naval force includes 4 destroyers, 22 frigates, 4 submarines, 31 missile boats, 14 corvettes, 13 mine warfare ships, 7 landing ships and 10 auxiliary ships. The 4 active Taiwanese submarines are divided into two classes: the Chien Lung class, a variant of the Dutch Zwaardvis class, is made up of two submarines launched in 1986; and the Hai Shih class, made up of two obsolete American Tench class submarines, launched in 1944 and 1945 and transferred to Taiwan in 1973.
The ROC Navy has not had an easy time obtaining new submarines, as its main foreign supplier, the United States, has specialized in nuclear submarines, so its Navy does not have old conventional submarines that it can sell. second hand to Taiwan. The new Hai Kun class submarines come to cover this need. At the moment the launch and delivery forecasts for the next submarines of this class are unknown, since the program is being carried out with a considerable reserveto avoid leaks to communist China.
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