Coast guard missile corvette set to join Han Kuang drills: Source

06/27/2022 04:55 PM
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A file photo of the 600-ton vessel the Chengkung. Photo courtesy of the coast guard
A file photo of the 600-ton vessel the Chengkung. Photo courtesy of the coast guard

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) A coast guard missile corvette will participate in a series of live-fire exercises leading up to this year's Han Kuang drills, and the Anping-class vessel has already docked at a naval base in northeastern Taiwan, a source told CNA Monday.

The 600-ton vessel the Chengkung (成功), which is usually based in Hualien County and patrols off Taiwan's east coast, arrived at Su'ao Naval Base in Yilan County on Sunday, ahead of the live-fire naval exercises that are scheduled to begin later in the week, the source said.

The Chengkung will participate in the naval drills that will be held in the run-up to Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises, which are scheduled for July 25-29, the source said.

According to local media reports, the Chengkung might fire its indigenous Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles during the exercises, as its sister ship did in a similar drill in May.

The other ship, also an Anping-class corvette, last month fired a Hsiung Feng II missile that successfully hit its target 100 kilometers off the coast of Taiwan, near Orchid Island.

The annual Han Kuang exercises, first held in 1984, are Taiwan's major military drills that include all branches of the armed forces, with the aim of testing the country's combat readiness in the event of an attack by China.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) had said earlier that two coast guard corvettes would join the live-fire drills this year for the first time to boost that branch's combat readiness.

In a report sent to lawmakers in April, the MND said the exercises, which will involve the firing of precision weapons systems, will ensure that the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) is better prepared to carry out national defense missions in the event of a war.

The CGA currently has two 600-ton offshore Anping-class patrol vessels, which are capable of traveling at over 44 knots and are equipped with a water cannon, high explosive rockets, and a 20-millimeter cannon.

Ships of this class are also designed to be fitted with Hsiung Feng III and Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles, which means they can easily be converted into fast attack vessels, if necessary.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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