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Taiwan begins construction of light frigates

Navy expects two new ships to be completed by 2026

Conceptual illustration of light frigate. (YouTube, NCSIST screenshot)

Conceptual illustration of light frigate. (YouTube, NCSIST screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A ceremony will be held on Friday (Nov. 17) to mark the beginning of the construction for the Navy’s planned air defense light frigate, military officials announced on Monday (Nov. 13).

The event will take place at CSBC Corporation's shipyard in Kaohsiung, with senior government officials presiding, CNA reported.

According to the 2023 Ministry of National Defense annual defense budget submitted to the Legislative Yuan, the original shipbuilding project was named “New Generation Guided-Missile Frigate" but was changed to "New Generation Light Frigate." The project is slated to complete two ships by 2026 with a budget of NT$24.55 billion (US$807.65 million).

One will be outfitted with a vertical missile launch system to provide air defense, while the other will be equipped with a towed sonar to counter submarines. Altogether, there will be a fleet of eight light frigates intended to replace the aging Chi Yang-class frigates.

The Navy explained that the new vessels would primarily be responsible for reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the Taiwan Strait, escorting transport ships to outlying islands, maintaining the safety of maritime traffic lines, and supporting military exercises and training.