TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A spokesperson for the Taiwan Navy confirmed on April 16 that construction on the domestically produced Amphibious Transport Ship (塢運輸艦) would begin this year, and the ship expected to enter service in 2021.
The spokesman also discussed some of the different uses the vessel would serve for the Taiwan Armed Forces once it becomes operational. The Amphibious Transport Ship will also be the first navy vessel constructed entirely in Taiwan since the President Tsai came to office.
After several issues with the budget and securing a contractor for the project, the Taiwan International Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) pitched their proposal for the NT$ 4,635,760,000 (US$ 158 million) budget allocated for the ship, and successfully received the contract in early March.
The ship will displace a volume of 10,000 tons of water and will be equipped with 76 mm rapid fire artillery cannons, an MK-15 Phanlanx Close-in radar weapons system, and two separate Haijin 2 missile launching platforms.
The primary objective of the vessel will be to carry various tactical transports for rapid deployment, including; AAV7 assault vehicles, and helicopters, as well as personnel.
The naval officer said that the ship will be capable of reaching a maximum speed of 21 knots, and in addition to defensive applications, the vessel may also serve as a mobile dock for other vessels in emergency situations like natural disasters.
The official also said the ship could serve as a naval field hospital and also assist in various rescue or humanitarian assistance operations, reports Liberty Times.
The project will be a good indication of the effectiveness and capability of Taiwan’s domestic ship building industry, which the government aims to expand in the coming years. This is especially true now the country has received the proper license from US authorities that will allow Taiwan to begin constructing its own submarines.
The topic of shipbuilding is also one of three key areas that will be discussed next month at the Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum to be held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for the first time in the event’s history.