Taiwan Navy retires two Knox-class frigates

05/01/2015 12:50 PM
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Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Taiwan's Navy decommissioned two of its eight Knox-class frigates Friday with the intention of replacing them with two Perry-class guided missile frigates that is part of a fleet modernization effort.

The two Knox-class vessels were retired from service at a ceremony in the southern city of Kaohsiung, which was presided over by Navy Commander Adm. Li Hsi-ming (李喜明).

It was part of the effort to modernize the Navy's fleet of vessels and enhance the country's maritime defense capabilities.

The Navy plans to decommission all eight of its 4,300-ton Knox-class frigates that were built in the early 1970s and have been in service for more than 40 years.

Before their sale to Taiwan in the mid-1990s, the ships belonged to the U.S. Navy.

Since Taiwan acquired the Knox-class frigates, they have on numerous occasions detected submarines from various countries, which were passing through waters of east Taiwan.

Taiwan's military is planning to use the retired vessels as public art installations, but is still looking for a suitable location, according to a military officer.

Meanwhile, the Navy is preparing to take delivery of two of four Perry-class guided missile frigates that the United States has agreed to sell to Taiwan.

The Navy said that later this year it will send personnel to the United States to take delivery of the Perry-class frigates, which are being decommissioned by the U.S. Navy after some 30 years of service. The first frigate is expected to arrive in Taiwan in the second half of 2016, the Navy said.

Taiwan has budgeted about NT$5.5 billion (US$174.8 million) for the purchase of two Perry-class frigates, while the Navy is still reviewing its needs before deciding whether to buy the other two.

(By Elaine Hou and Lu Hsin-hui)ENDITEM/pc

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