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Taiwan launches 'aircraft carrier killer' corvette

First Taiwan-made Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvette launched

Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvette. (Lungteh image)

Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvette. (Lungteh image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Navy on Tuesday (Dec. 15) launched its first heavily armed corvette, nicknamed the "aircraft carrier killer" (航母殺手) due to its armament of subsonic and supersonic missiles.

During a ceremony at Lungteh Shipyard in Yilan's Su-ao Township on Tuesday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) presided over the launch of Taiwan's first domestically built Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvette. Not to be confused with the Anping-class offshore patrol vessel, the first of which was launched by the Coast Guard Administration on Friday (Dec. 11), the Navy's version is much more heavily armed, as it is designed for combat with Chinese warships.

The most obvious difference between the Anping-class patrol boats and the Tuo Chiang-class ships is the fact that the latter comes equipped with an OTO Melara 76 mm naval gun on its forward deck. The Tuo Chiang-class corvettes also come fully loaded with Sea Sword II anti-aircraft missiles, eight subsonic Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) anti-ship missiles, eight supersonic Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) medium-range missiles, one Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS), two 12.7 mm Browning M2HB machine guns, and two Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes.

Taiwan launches 'aircraft carrier killer' corvette
Tuo Chiang-class corvette being launched at Lungteh Shipyard. (CNA photo)

The Anping-class boats, on the other hand, are mainly meant for law enforcement purposes and are lightly armed with a water cannon, 20 mm cannon, and high explosive rockets. However, in the event of a war, these ships can also be upgraded to carry the HF-2 and HF-3 missile systems.

Both ships, which are built by the Kaohsiung-based Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Group, feature a modern catamaran design, which provides better stability, maneuverability, less draft, greater speed, and superior fuel efficiency. The Tuo Chiang-class corvettes have a length of 60.4 meters, displacement of 685 tons, a maximum operational range of 1,800 miles, and a top speed of 43 knots, according to Lungteh Shipbuilding.

The new naval ship's name, Ta Chiang (塔江), is derived from the Tawa River (塔瓦溪) in Taitung County. The river basin is home to the Paiwan Indigenous people, who have hunted in the area since ancient times and are known for their fearlessness and bravery in war, according to the Navy Command.

The first Tuo Chiang-class ship will officially be delivered to the Navy in July 2021.

Taiwan launches 'aircraft carrier killer' corvette
Tsai delivering speech at launching ceremony for Tuo Chiang-class corvette. (CNA photo)

Video showing sea trials of a Tuo Chiang-class corvette prototype: