Mysterious radar ship spotted off coast of S. Taiwan

Strange Taiwanese ship could be prototype for new phased array radar system to detect Chinese missiles

Kao Hsiung LCC-1. (Photo from Mobile01)

Kao Hsiung LCC-1. (Photo from Mobile01)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Photos have recently surfaced apparently showing a naval vessel prowling the waters off the coast of southern Taiwan with a massive newly mounted radar tower on top, leading to speculation among netizens that it could be a new domestically produced radar ship.

Recently, several photos have circulated online that show the amphibious landing ship Kao Hsiung (LCC-1) with a large, octagonal radar tower protruding from its deck as well as a vertical launch system.

According to a UDN report, the Kao Hsiung, which is a part of Taiwan's 151st Fleet, was decommissioned from its role as an amphibious tank landing ship and handed over to the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) to carry out various system tests.

Some netizens have recently posted photos and discussed the changes made to the vessel on the popular online forum Mobile01. F. S. Mei (梅復興), director of the U.S.-based Taiwan Security Analysis Center, wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday (Nov. 19) that the photos indicate the vessel has been outfitted with phased array radar.

Kao Hsiung LCC-1. (Photo from Mobile01)

Mei wrote that when looking at the overall structure of the ship, it appears that it has three or four array antenna towers and that "The size is quite impressive." Mei added that the media had previously reported that the "Hsunta Plan" (迅達計劃) a shipborne phased array radar developed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology as part of the Hsunlien Project (迅聯專案), was too heavy for the planned 4,500-ton single-hull ship to accommodate.

"If this configuration is used on the new patrol ship in the future, the previous rumors do not appear to be groundless," wrote Mei.

Facebook post by F.S. Mei: