Saturday, April 28, 2012

‘Carrier killer’ program goes ahead

A computer rendition of the corvette provided by MND
Between seven and 11 500-tonne Swift Sea stealth corvettes, each equipped with eight anti-ship cruise missiles, are to be built by 2014 

Despite hitting a snag in a recent bidding process, the navy is proceeding with the development of a stealth 500-tonne fast attack missile boat that is already being hailed as Taiwan’s “carrier killer.” 

Plans for the indigenous development of the 500-tonne corvette were first made public in 2009. In April the following year, Deputy Minister of National Defense Lin Yu-pao (林於豹) told the legislature that design work as part of the Hsun Hai (迅海, “Swift Sea”) program was completed and that bidding would be held this year. The legislature last year passed a NT$24.98 billion (US$853.4 million) budget to build between seven and 11 corvettes, with delivery scheduled for 2014. The boats are reportedly expected to remain in service for 25 years.

China's Houbei-class Type 022
The corvettes will come equipped with eight Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) and Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) anti-ship missiles, as well as a 76mm rapid-fire bow gun. The catamaran-style design, reports said, may have been inspired by the 220-tonne Houbei-class Type 022 catamaran recently deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. James Holmes of the US Naval War College comments on this development in The Diplomat.

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