TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Navy has been forced to suspend its missile boat project until more funding becomes available, according to a report from the United Daily News (UDN).
Despite a significant increase in the annual defense budget approved by the government for 2020, the portion allocated to the Navy is currently insufficient for the “micro-class missile assault boat” project to move forward. However, the Navy has sought to dispel rumors that the project has been abandoned, emphasizing that they are just waiting for the Legislative Yuan to green light funding.
With several ongoing projects to bolster Taiwan’s naval defense assets, the plan to manufacture 60 of the micro missile boats, which was strongly endorsed by recently retired Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明), has been put on hold. There were rumors that the new navy commander, Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光), wanted to cancel the project.
The Navy has clarified that the rumors are incorrect and that the project is just waiting for funding authorization. The total cost of the project is estimated at NT$31.6 billion (US$1 billion), reports UDN.
In March of this year, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) revealed a prototype of the micro assault boat named the “Glory Star”(光榮之星). The double hull design allows for the 80-ton vessel to displace 40 tons, allowing for increased speed and stability.
The ships can be operated by a crew of three and are equipped with two Hsiung Feng II missile platforms. The small size and versatility of the ships will make them easy to conceal along Taiwan’s coastal areas, providing mobile missile batteries for Taiwan’s defense.
The prototype has reportedly undergone sea and missile trials with satisfactory results. A comprehensive report will be submitted to the Legislative Yuan next year, when the Navy hopes to receive a green light for mass production to move forward.