Hai Lung-class submarine

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SS793 Submarines1.jpg
ROCS Hai Lung (SS-793)
Class overview
Name: Chien Lung or Hai Lung
Builders: Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij
Operators:  Republic of China Navy
Built: 1982–1986
In commission: 1987–present
Planned: 2
Completed: 2
Active: 2
General characteristics
Type: Conventional attack submarine
  • 2376 t (surfaced)
  • 2660 t (submerged)
Length: 66.9 m (219 ft 6 in)
Beam: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Draught: 6.7 m (22 ft 0 in)
Propulsion: 3 × Bronswerk/Stork-Werkspoor RUB 215x12 diesels; 4050 hp
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (submerged)
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) (surfaced)
Test depth: 300 m (980 ft)
Complement: 67 (8 officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Type 1001 radar
  • Sonar Elodone Octopus, Type 20026 towed array, DUUX-5
  • Elbit TIMNEX 4CH(V2) electronic support measures (ESM) system

The Chien Lung class of submarine, also known as the Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) class, was manufactured in the Netherlands for the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is currently in service with its navy. They are a modified version of the Dutch Navy's Zwaardvis class which itself is based on the US Barbel class.


The Republic of China (Taiwan) ordered two submarines, each based on the Dutch Zwaardvis design, in September 1981.[1] The keels for both submarines were laid down by dock and yard company Wilton Fijenoord b.v Schiedam in December 1982, though initial construction of the submarines was delayed due to the builder's financial instability, work resumed in 1983. Both submarines were launched in 1986, Hai Lung on October 6 and Hai Hu on December 10. Sea trials for Hai Lung began in March 1987 and Hai Hu began its sea trials in January 1988. Both ships were transported to Taiwan on board a heavy dock vessel. Hai Hu was commissioned for service on October 9, 1987 and Hai Lung followed on April 9, 1988.[2]

More boats in this class were planned, and in October 1983 the Dutch government held talks with Taiwan in which the ordering of two extra submarines was discussed.[3] The order worth ƒ800 million was to be paid for 50% by investments of Taiwan in the Netherlands in the form of civil orders. However, the deal fell through after mainland China pressured the Dutch government. An order for four more submarines was also turned down by the Netherlands government in 1992 after China downgraded diplomatic ties with the Dutch.[4]


The Hai Lung-class submarines are based on an improved Zwaardvis-class design. This means that they also make use of the US Navy's teardrop hull design, which was used by the Barbel class of conventional submarines. The design was modified to include the placement of noise-producing machinery on a false deck with spring suspension for silent running.[1] As built the class featured an Elbit TIMNEX 4CH(V2) electronic support measures (ESM) system.[5]


The Hai Lung-class submarines are aimed at providing Taiwan the capability to deter Chinese naval blockades and to ensure that its sea lanes remain open, thus protecting the trade on which the island depends. In addition, both submarines could be used to block Chinese ports but are unlikely to be capable of countering China's superior submarine fleet.[6]

Planned upgrade[edit]

In 2005, it was reported that the Chien Lung-class submarines would be upgraded to be capable of launching the UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.[7] US DoD notified the United States Congress of the sale to Taiwan of 32 UGM-84 Harpoon Block II missiles, along with two weapon control systems, other associated equipment and services, in 2008.[8] The delivery of the Harpoon anti-ship missiles started in 2013 and was completed in 2016. The upgrade allows the Hai Lung-class submarines to be able to attack targets from the sea, such as the Port of Shanghai, as well as nuclear submarines at the secret naval base in Yulin on the island of Hainan. The 32 Harpoon missiles have a range of about 125 kilometers (78 mi). This is much more than the torpedoes the Republic of China Navy had before, which could only hit targets at shorter distances. The submarines can now attack targets both at sea and on land with Harpoon missiles.[9]


Name Hull number Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned
Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) SS-793 Wilton-Fijenoord 15 December 1982 6 October 1986 9 October 1987
Hai Hu (Sea Tiger) SS-794 Wilton-Fijenoord December 1982 10 December 1986 9 April 1988

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hai Lung [Sea Dragon]-class [Zwaardvis] Submarine, Global Security, retrieved 24 April 2018
  2. ^ Hai Lung (class) Taiwan (1987), Military Factory, 14 August 2017, retrieved 24 April 2018
  3. ^ Kabinet praat over levering van onderzeeërs aan Taiwan (in Dutch), Digibron.nl, 28 October 1983, retrieved 24 April 2018
  4. ^ Jelle Brandsma (1 September 2004), 'Den Haag boort Wilton Fijenoord orders door de neus' (in Dutch), Trouw, retrieved 24 April 2018
  5. ^ Minnick, Wendell. "Taiwan Moves Forward on Sub Upgrades". www.defensenews.com. Defense News. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  6. ^ Taiwan Submarine Capabilities, NTI, 23 July 2013, retrieved 24 April 2018
  7. ^ "Taiwan to boost submarine force with Harpoon anti-ship missiles: Jane's". AFP. 2005-09-25. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
  8. ^ "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States – UGM-84L HARPOON Block II Missiles" (PDF). DSCA. 2008-10-03. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  9. ^ Stieven Ramdharie (8 January 2014), Taiwan kan China nu ook vanuit zee treffen (in Dutch), De Volkskrant, retrieved 24 April 2018

External links[edit]