China mocks Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine 


China responded with mocking derision when Taiwan unveiled its first Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS), which displaces approximately 2,700 tons, at a ceremony in Kaohsiung on 28 September.
Taiwan is planning to construct up to eight such submarines and, despite China’s rhetoric, they will present significant challenges to China’s military in any potential conflict. Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, described Taiwan’s submarine program as “a broom attempting to hold hack the tide”. He also called the effort “idiotic nonsense”.
With bluster typical of Chinese officialdom whenever it comes to the topic of Taiwan, Senior Colonel Wu said that, no matter how many weapons Taiwan builds, they will “not be able to stop the general trend of national reunification, or shake the staunch determination, strong will and strong capabilities” of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan’s first IDS was christened Hai Kun, and the design is rather conventional as is befitting for the country’s first ever attempt at building a submarine. Construction of this diesel-electric submarine commenced on 24 November 2020, following a contract signed with shipbuilder CSBC Corporation.
This boat is approximately 70m long, and is Taiwan’s first submarine to feature X-shaped rudders. Harbor acceptance tests of the first IDS were to occur on 1 October, ahead of sea trials scheduled for around
April 2024.
In similar dismissive fashion to the PLA’s Senior Colonel Wu, a story published in the Chinese tabloid Global Times on 25 September said any Taiwanese ambition to prevent the PLA Navy (PLAN) from entering the Pacific Ocean “is just an illusion of the island attempting to resist reunification by force”.
In any future conflict, Taiwanese submarines have the ability to torpedo Chinese warships, to lay sea mines near Chinese ports to blockade them, to conduct reconnaissance, to disrupt Chinese merchant shipping, to insert and extract special forces, and to launch cruise missiles against Chinese military facilities near the coast.
According to the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), part of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the US Naval War College, “This comparative ignorance of the ocean battlespace environment is a major impediment to PLAN submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations, especially beyond the First Island Chain.”
Mao Ning, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, reasserted Beijing’s canard that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and the reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is bound to be realized”.
With Taiwan’s latest defense budget amounting to NTD606.8 billion (USD19.1 billion), it comes as no surprise that a unit cost of USD1.54 billion per submarine consumes quite a significant portion of that sum.
Advanced systems like the combat management system come from American firm Lockheed Martin, while Raytheon supplied the sonar arrays, and L3Harris the mast-raising system. In terms of weapons, the IDS will carry MK 48 Mod 6 torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles from the USA. Logically, Taiwan opted for traditional lead-acid batteries rather than air-independent propulsion (AIP).