TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Navy will upgrade its six Kang Ding-class frigates to improve their air and missile defenses by installing new missile systems.
The program, costing a total of NT$43.15 billion (US$1.55 billion), was described in a 2022 budget document filed by the Ministry of National Defense at the Legislative Yuan Tuesday, CNA reported.
The Sea Chaparral missiles, which had been in service on the frigates for about 20 years, will be replaced by the Sea Sword II, developed by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST, 中科院). The upgrading has been budgeted for the period from 2021 until 2030, according to the military’s plan.
The new missile system will conform to the frigates’ stealth contours, with no angles protruding from the ship. The six Kang Ding-class frigates were procured from France in the early 1990s, when they were known as Lafayette frigates.
The Sea Sword II is an active radar-guided mid-range air defense missile that completed testing earlier this year. It can engage with anti-ship missiles and threats from airplanes simultaneously, allowing it to deliver a significant improvement over the frigates’ current defense capabilities.