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Taiwan marked a significant milestone in its defense strategy by unveiling a prototype of its first domestically assembled submarine. Named “Hai Kun,” the diesel-electric vessel is part of Taiwan’s ambitious program to enhance its naval capabilities, driven by concerns over the looming threat of a potential invasion by China. This achievement has been made possible through discreet assistance from various foreign experts and engineers.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry recently conducted the maiden sea trial of the submarine at the shipbuilder CSBC Corp.’s Kaohsiung dockyard. This event underscores Taiwan’s determination to bolster its naval defenses in the face of mounting tensions with China.

In a November 2021 Reuters report, it was revealed that Taiwan had sought the expertise of engineers and retired submariners from several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, India, Spain, and Canada. This diverse group of experts was recruited to work on the submarine program and provide valuable advice to the Taiwanese navy.

Notably, many of the engineers involved in developing the Kalvari class submarines in India, constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), were said to have been recruited by CSBC Corp.’s Kaohsiung dockyard. The Kalvari class submarines are based on a French-Spanish design, and the expertise gained in their development has proven invaluable for Taiwan’s submarine program.

In addition to engineering support, Taiwan also managed to enlist former naval officers with specialization in submarine operations. These officers played a crucial role in training the submarine’s crew and contributed to the construction process.

Taiwan’s efforts to enhance its naval capabilities reflect the growing need for self-reliance and preparedness in the face of regional security challenges. As tensions continue to simmer in the Taiwan Strait, the successful development of the “Hai Kun” submarine marks a significant step toward strengthening the nation’s defense posture.

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