Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Taiwan plans to spend nearly NT$2 billion to upgrade the electronic warfare system on its four Kidd-class destroyers in response to China's missile threats and to enhance surface-to-air combat capability, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).
In its 2019 budget proposal, the MND said the upgrade of the AN/SLQ-32 system on the Kidd-class guided missile destroyers is expected to be completed by 2023.
The four destroyers are usually deployed in waters off Taiwan's east coast to carry out early warning missions, as China's military aircraft frequently conduct training exercises in that area, according to the MND.
It said Taiwan Navy's defense capabilities heavily depend on the AN/SLQ-32 system, which is outdated and must be upgraded to improve its capabilities to counter the growing threat of more complex radar-guided anti-ship missile systems.
Therefore, the ministry said, it is allocating more than NT$1.99 billion to upgrade the AN/SLQ-32 system on four Kidd-class destroyers.
The military will also purchase 16 Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) Block IIIA missiles to strengthen its surface-to-air defense capabilities, according to a Navy officer.
With a displacement of about 9,000 tons, the Kidd-class destroyer is smaller than some other naval vessels such as the Pan Shi and Wu Yi combat support ships, but it has a huge sonar transducer under its bow that gives it a deep draft of 9.6 meters, according to the official.