Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Taiwanese Navy holds exercise; unveils new minesweepers

A number of vessels from the Tsuoying Naval Base, plus an aircraft and a helicopter, participated in an exercise off Greater Kaohsiung 

One of the two refurbished Osprey mine hunters
The navy yesterday unveiled two refurbished minesweepers acquired from the US last year during a demonstration in waters off Greater Kaohsiung simulating a submarine intrusion.

A Lafayette-class frigate with media onboard, accompanied by two Chengkung-class frigates, a German-made minesweeper and two Osprey-class mine hunters headed into the Taiwan Strait to seek out an intruder submarine.

A KH-6 fast-attack boat
Six Kuang Hua VI fast-attack missile boats, an S-2T Turbo Tracker anti-submarine aircraft and an S-70C helicopter, which dropped a sonobuoy to locate the enemy submarine, were also involved in the drill. The mine hunters — MHC 1310 and 1311 — were obtained in August.

A navy Hai Lung submarine surfaced after the S-70 dropped a Mk46 torpedo. It was the first time that the Osprey mine hunters had been on public display.

Chengkung-class frigate 1105. Note the HF-3 launchers
A number of vessels anchored at Tsuoying Naval Base, including some that participated in the exercise, showed that progress is being made in a NT$12 billion (US$406 million) program launched in May 2011 to outfit the Chengkung frigates, as well as the domestically made Ching Chiang-class patrol boats, with Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles.

Four HF-3 launchers were seen on the two Chengkung-class frigates, PFG 1105 and PFG 1109. In all, 120 HF-3s are to be added to the navy’s arsenal under the program.

Lafayette-class frigate, viewed from our Lafayette
Taiwan’s submarine-chasing capabilities will be substantially enhanced after it receives 12 refurbished US P-3C Orion maritime aircraft to replace the aging S-2Ts it acquired in the 1980s. Navy officials said the exercise highlighted the nation’s military preparedness and combat readiness ahead of the Lunar New Year.

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

No comments: