Taiwan preparing to take delivery of two U.S. Perry-class frigates

Taipei, Jan. 14 (CNA) The Navy said Wednesday that it will send personnel to the United States later this year to prepare to take delivery of two of four Perry-class guided missile frigates the United States has agreed to sell to Taiwan. "We will send them to the U.S. in the second quarter of the year," a source in the Navy told CNA. The Navy wants the frigates to replace its aging fleet of Knox-class vessels, which have been in service for about 40 years. The Navy expects to take delivery of the frigates, which are being decommissioned by the U.S. Navy after some 30 years of service, in 2017. As the Navy prepares to receive the Perry-class frigates, it said two of its eight Knox-class frigates are expected to be retired by the end of this year. U.S. President Barack Obama in December signed into law a bill that authorizes the sale of the four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. The Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed the bill earlier that month. The measure approved by the U.S. government will allow the sale of guided missile frigates USS Gary, USS Carr, USS Taylor and USS Elrod to Taiwan's Navy, which already operates eight Cheng Kung-class frigates modeled on the 4,100-ton Perry-class ships. Taiwan has budgeted about NT$5.5 billion (US$174.8 million) to purchase two of the Perry-class frigates, while the Navy said it is still reviewing its needs before deciding whether to buy the other two. (By Elaine Hou)