(IntegrityPress.org) – On September 28, the island nation of Taiwan christened and launched its first domestically-produced submarine. The ship’s launch is said to be an important step in the move to modernize the country’s naval forces in the face of their Chinese adversary. Taiwan’s government has said they anticipate building another seven similar submarines in the coming years.
Despite the latest upgrade, the tiny country’s fleet of submarines is still overwhelmingly outnumbered by the amount their Chinese rival has in its arsenal. China has 59 known underwater vessels and Taiwan’s end of September launch only takes their total to four. The democratic nation’s newest addition was named Hai Kun, which is a reference to an enormous myth-like flying fish.
Tsai Ing Wen, the Taiwanese President, told attendees at the launch festivities that the day would be “forever” remembered. According to Wen, critics of her nation’s submarine program had claimed it would be “impossible” for them to achieve the feat of engineering on their own. She told the audience that the Hai Kun’s builders had successfully proved their naysayers wrong.
Even though the sub is not the nuclear-powered variety, it still came with a hefty price tag. The domestic shipbuilder that raised the beast charged the government $1.54 billion. Its approximate 260-foot length displaces as much as 2,950 tons of seawater. Though Taiwan’s military has not confirmed the rumors, some have said the boat features an advanced propulsion system.
If the rumors are true, it would make the sub more difficult for enemies to detect and it would allow it to stay submerged far longer than it otherwise could. Outside of the boat’s capabilities, some observers have noted that the Hai Kun’s outer finish appears to be lacking in quality. Pictures posted to Twitter, for instance, seem to show steel that has been bent unevenly into place.
A senior Chinese military official said Taiwan’s newest naval addition was “idiotic nonsense.”
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