TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Two Perry-class frigates ordered from the United States and equipped with a sonar system to track submarines should arrive in Kaohsiung on May 13, reports said Tuesday.
The two ships will eventually join the Navy unit guarding Penghu in the middle of the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China.
The missile frigates are officially named the PFG-1112 Feng Chia (逢甲號) after Chiu Feng-chia (丘逢甲), a militia leader who played a role in the resistance against the Japanese after they took over Taiwan in 1895, and the PFG-1115 Ming Chuan (銘傳號) after Liu Ming-chuan (劉銘傳), the modernizing governor of Taiwan under the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century.
The frigates started serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s under the names of USS Gary and USS Taylor, reports said. Early last year, the State Department approved the sale to Taiwan for a total of US$190 million (NT$5.75 billion). VSE Corporation was awarded the US$74 million (NT$2.24 billion) contract to refurbish the ships for their use by Taiwan. Last March, top military officials and Taipei’s representative in the U.S., Stanley Kao (高碩泰), attended a ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, marking the transfer of the frigates to Taiwan.
They are each equipped with the towed sonar system known as the SQR-19, which can detect and provide details about submarines in a range of more than 120 kilometers. Taiwan’s Navy has been waiting for such a system for more than 20 years, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported.
The timing of their arrival at Kaohsiung’s Zuoying Naval Base from Hawaii only became known because relatives of the men aboard were invited to a ceremony, reports said.