Navy launches new missile corvette, takes delivery of minelayer

12/15/2020 05:17 PM
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The upgraded version of its Tuo Chiang-class missile corvette. CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020
The upgraded version of its Tuo Chiang-class missile corvette. CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020

Update: Navy plans to build three more missile corvettes by 2023

Yilan, Dec. 15 (CNA) The Navy on Tuesday held a launch ceremony for an upgraded version of its Tuo Chiang-class missile corvette and took delivery of a rapid mine-laying vessel, in what President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) described as an important development in the government's indigenous ship-building program.

In a speech at Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co.'s shipyard in Yilan County, Tsai said Taiwan is beginning to see the results of her administration's decision to pursue self-sufficiency in national defense capability.

A long line of recent developments, including the start of construction on a domestic submarine and the handovers of new patrol ships and minelayers, show that indigenous defense manufacturing is making "thorough and comprehensive" progress, Tsai said.

In the case of the new Tuo Chiang-class stealth missile corvette, military engineers have further refined the performance and arsenal of the highly-praised first generation of ships, Tsai said.

The rapid mine-laying ship, meanwhile, features an automatic mine-laying system wholly developed by National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, she said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (center) is pictured on board of the new rapid mine-laying vessel. CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020
President Tsai Ing-wen (center) is pictured on board of the new rapid mine-laying vessel. CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020

According to the Navy, the new Tuo Chiang-class ship has a maximum speed of 30 knots, displacement of 685 tonnes and an operational range of 1,800 nautical miles. Its arsenal includes Sea Sword II missiles, Hsiung Feng II and III anti-ship missiles and a 76 mm cannon.

The ship's name, the "Ta Chiang" (塔江), contains a reference to the Tawa River (塔瓦溪) in Taitung County, which forms the ancestral hunting grounds of the aboriginal Paiwan people, while also alluding to the vessel's symbolic role as a "tower" (塔) on the front line of the nation's defense, the Navy said.

Meanwhile, the mine-laying vessel has a maximum speed of 14 knots, displacement of 347 tonnes, and is equipped with a T-75 20 mm cannon and T-74 machine guns, as well as a domestically-developed mine laying system, the Navy said.

CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020
CNA photo Dec. 15, 2020

According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) budget, the Ta Chiang is the first of three upgraded Tuo Chiang-class corvettes being produced for the Navy by 2023, at a cost of NT$16.4 billion (US$582.87 million).

The rapid mine-laying ship is the first of four such vessels that will be delivered to the Navy by the end of next year, at a total cost of NT$900 million, according to the MND.

(By Matt Yu and Matthew Mazzetta)

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