Taiwan’s first-ever indigenous submarine – the Hai Kun-class, or Narwhal will purportedly be handed over to the Republic of China Navy (ROCN) by May. First unveiled in September, it was reported that the submarine would sail for sea trials after February, with the handover date set before May 20 should the vessel pass all evaluations.
According to the ROCN, safety is the highest priority and that the Narwhal would undergo comprehensive Harbour Acceptance Testing and Sea Acceptance Testing. The plan is for the Navy to operate a fleet of the locally-manufactured submarines to prevent (the People’s Republic of) China from encircling Taiwan. Therefore, it is considered imperative for the Taiwanese military to possess a sufficient and capable armada of surface and sub-surface vessels to safeguard vital passages in the waters around Taiwan. Said to be armed with 18 American Mark 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology (AT) torpedoes, the Hai Kun’s armaments are an improvement over the aging SUT 264 torpedoes. shp/adj/dl (Pix:Office of the President)