National Cheng Kung University has built Taiwan’s first human-powered submarine, which was given a name full of Taiwanese flavor at its launch on Sunday.
The Sat-bak-hi, or “milkfish” as pronounced in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), is a brainchild of a team of seven from the university, who spent more than two years developing it.
The team is to participate in the biennial European International Submarine Races, which are to be held in Portsmouth, England, next month, the school said.
Photo courtesy of National Cheng Kung University
Submarine competitions have been held in Europe and the US for more than 20 years, said Chen Jeng-horng (陳政宏), associate professor at the university’s Department of Systems and Naval Mechatronic Engineering.
Taiwan would be the first participating team that is not from a NATO or EU country, a pioneering undertaking that would help promote indigenously built submarines and nurture vessel-building talent, he said.
The team consists of the department’s students Wang Pi-cheng (王丕丞), Hsu Wei-jen (許瑋仁), Wei Heng-yu (魏珩育), Hsueh Hao-cheng (薛皓丞), Han Yun-hao (韓允豪), Chen Ting-hsuan (陳廷宣) and Wang Dan-hsu (王丹詡), the university said in a news release.
Under Chen’s supervision, the team began their project in September 2020, using fiber-reinforced plastic to build the vessel’s 3m-long hull, it said.
The submarine, with an estimated top speed of 5 knots (9.26kph), would be shipped to England at the end of the month, it said.
The shipping fees and plane tickets of the contestants are being sponsored by the Chang Yung-fa Charity Foundation, it added.
More than 50 entries were submitted to the submarine’s naming contest, with “Sat-bak-hi” getting the most votes, team leader Wang Pi-cheng said, hoping the representative delicacy from Tainan, where the university is located, can bring them good luck in the UK.
University executive vice president Su Fong-chin (蘇芳慶) hosted the naming ceremony yesterday, putting the logo on the hull of the vessel and wishing the contestants the best of luck.
The race was launched in 2012, providing a platform for university students in shipbuilding fields to design, build and operate submarines, the university said.
Participating teams have to navigate through linear paths, bends with a radius of 25m and S-shaped obstacle courses, and will be judged on finishing time and the design of their submarines, it added.
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