Taipei, May 28 (CNA) The warships that Taiwan plans to build, starting with a prototype in 2014, should be equipped with indigenous cruise missiles, a lawmaker suggested Monday.
If the Taiwan-made Hsiung Feng 2E missiles can be fitted on the vessels, it will give the Navy a longer attack range and therefore improve its combat capability, lawmaker Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang said in the Legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee.
In response, Deputy Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang said his ministry will consider any measure that will help boost the country's national defense.
The ministry will "make an overall assessment," taking into account factors such as military strategies and foreign threats, Chao said.
Earlier this month, the Navy confirmed that it had commissioned the domestic company Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. to build a 450-ton prototype missile boat, as part of Taiwan's policy to construct its own warships.
The Lung Teh contract to build a high-performance prototype boat will pave the way for the Navy's plan to add 10 to 12 new warships to its fleet, a local media report said. However, the Navy declined to confirm the report.
In the legislative committee meeting, Lin also asked about the delay of a project to build a hangar at the Pingtung air force base in southern Taiwan for the advanced P-3C anti-submarine aircraft that Taiwan will acquire from the United States over the next three years.
Taiwan will obtain six P-3Cs next year, another five in 2014 and one in 2015, but the completion date for the new hangar has been set back to 2017, Lin said.
In response, Chao said "the existing hangar will be used and old facilities will be renovated to accommodate the P-3C aircraft.
"We have contingency measures in place," Chao said.
Lin also raised the issue of cracks in the deck of the Chengkung-class frigate after it was outfitted with Taiwan-made supersonic anti-ship Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) III missiles.
The Navy said the problem has been fixed.
(By Elaine Hou)