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Taiwan Navy has upgraded Lafayette frigates

Stealth element improved by upgrade

One of Taiwan's six Lafayette frigates.

One of Taiwan's six Lafayette frigates. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Lafayette frigate with upgraded firepower took part in Navy drills near Kaohsiung Wednesday morning, according to media reports.

The maneuvers were routine at this time of the year, in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holidays.

The practical exercises focused on mines, including the laying of mines at sea as well as mechanical mine sweeping, the Liberty Times reported.

In the meantime, the Kang Ding-class Wuchang had also seen some upgrades, including a more powerful main gun able to fire 100 rounds a minute and a new outer skin strengthening its stealth characteristics.

The design by Taiwan’s own National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (中科院) would confuse radar signals, making it more difficult for the ship to appear on enemy radar, the Apple Daily reported.

The 76 mm guns on the Kang Ding and the Cheng Gong class were being upgraded to emphasize stealth and defensive capabilities.

Taiwan bought six Lafayette frigates from France in the early 1990s, a deal which at the time was overshadowed by scandals involving alleged bribes and the death of a Taiwanese Navy officer.