Thursday, January 26, 2012

Taiwan Navy's mine hunting capabilities to receive boost soon

China, whose navy has an estimated 10,000-100,000 naval mines, could use them to impose a sea blockade against Taiwan in time of conflict

Two refurbished mine hunters acquired by Taiwan will commence sea trials next month and are expected to be delivered to the Taiwanese Navy in May or June, British journal Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last week.

The two Osprey-class coastal mine-hunting ships USS Oriole and USS Falcon — both decommissioned from the US navy in June 2006 — were part of the US$6.4 billion arms package notified to US Congress in January 2010 as Excess Defense Articles.

The 895-tonne ships, renamed MHC 1310 Yung Jin and MHC 1311 Yung An, underwent comprehensive hull, machinery and combat management overhaul and upgrades in the US, Jane’s wrote.

At the time of announcement in 2010, the US$105 million deal was expected to include an overhaul of the AN/SQQ-32 sonar.

The ships, whose hulls are made of fiberglass and designed to survive an underwater explosion, use sonar and video equipment to detect moored and undersea mines and a remote-controlled mine detonating device to secure key waterways.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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