TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Monday, May 14, the Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發) announced that the country would be expediting the construction of new navy corvettes, which the Minister said will be crucial to Taiwan’s asymmetrical military strategies moving forward.
The plans for the first three new “Tuo River” class corvettes (沱江艦), call for construction to begin in 2019. The ships are expected to be in service by 2025, reports CNA.
Originally, the MOND called for a three phase construction schedule to supplement the Navy’s fleet of corvettes. However, Yan says that the ministry has determined to shorten the long term schedule from three phases to two phases.
The first three ships represent phase one, and after they are completed, the next batch of eight Tuo River class corvettes will begin.
The remarks from Yan were made at a Legislative Yuan session reviewing budget reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of National Defense (MOND). When asked by a legislator about the decision, Yan replied that China’s quickening pace of modernization of its air force and naval forces, poses a serious threat to Taiwan’s national defense.
A Lieutenant General representing the MOND confirmed that the Ministry has already thoroughly investigated the necessary construction capacity and financial aspects of the adjusted two phase schedule, and that it would be “no problem.”
The navy’s first Tuo River class ship finished construction in 2014, and was put in service in 2015. The ship is 60.4 meters long, 14 meters wide, and has a maximum speed of 38 knots, that can be maintained for 2,000 nautical miles. It can be fitted with various surface to air, and ship to ship missiles systems, reports CNA.
At the recent Taiwan –U.S. Defense Business Forum held in Kaohsiung on May, 10, legislator Liu Shyh-Fang (劉世芳) outlined an ambitious strategy to drastically increase Tawian’s domestic shipbuilding capabilities, emphasizing the government aims to maintain a stable supply of continuous projects moving forward.
Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa (CNA Image)