October 10, 2023

Armed with a heavyweight torpedo made to 'break ships in half,' Taiwan's first homemade submarine will represent a new threat to China's navy

Source: Business Insider

Journalist: Chris Panella

"The inclusion of the Mk-48 is a significant upgrade" for Taiwan, Tom Shugart, a former US Navy submarine commander who's now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank, told Insider. "They can strike with very little warning, and they're deliberately designed to break ships in half."

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"The Mk-48 is probably the most capable torpedo in the world. It's dual purpose and can be used in anti-submarine warfare or against surface ships," Shugart said, adding that the "extremely hard-hitting, very long range, and very fast" torpedo gave Taiwan "the ability to threaten China's most powerful warships in a very direct way."

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"Unlike a Harpoon or a Tomahawk, you can't shoot down a torpedo that's on its way to its target. That's even if you detect it, even if you see it coming," Shugart said.

And, assuming Taiwan could even get it, the Maritime Strike Tomahawk has a range that Taiwan probably wouldn't be able to take full advantage of in a defense scenario. Also, "it's not particularly fast, it's not particularly stealthy," Shugart told Insider, explaining "that's going to be a missile that Chinese air-defense ships will be able to see coming and will have relatively more time to shoot down before [the missile] gets to something." These considerations make the Mk-48 torpedo key.

Read the full story and more from Insider.

Authors

  • Tom Shugart

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Tom Shugart is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. His research focuses on undersea warfare and maritime competition, ...