In its bid to build a more robust indigenous defense capability against mainland China’s growing military threats, on Thursday Taiwan commissioned the first of a new batch of domestically manufactured warships designed specifically to be ‘carrier-killers.’ The fast corvette warships are equipped with stealth technology and a lower profile for a reduced radar signature.
According to Newsweek, it is also “the first warship in the Taiwanese navy to carry ship-launched variants of [National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology] NCSIST’s Sea Sword II anti-air missile. It is armed with subsonic and supersonic anti-aircraft and anti-surface weapons, including torpedos as well as Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III missiles.”
The Tuo Chiang-class corvette ROCS Ta Chiang entered service at a commissioning ceremony attended by President Tsai Ing-wen and other military officials at the Su’ao naval base in Taiwan’s eastern Yilan County. The Ta Chiang is the first of a total of 11 Tuo Chiang-class corvettes to be built by Taiwan’s Lungteh Shipbuilding, six of which are to be delivered by 2023.
Lungteh is also making two additional fast minelaying vessels.
Newsweek added that the “agile, catamaran-style warship with a maximum displacement of 685 tons was made by Taiwanese company Lungteh Shipbuilding. The vessel’s armaments were developed and fitted by state defense researcher…(NCSIST).”
The construction of the Tuo Chiang-class corvettes is part of Taiwan’s overall defense strategy to increase its asymmetric warfare capabilities against the quantitative advantages of China‘s People’s Liberation Army. This involves manufacturing—and purchasing from abroad—precise and highly maneuverable weaponry that will be able to effectively defend the democratic island against an attempted invasion.
According to Newsweek, Tsai said, “This is an achievement worthy of recognition,” adding that Taiwan had demonstrated its capacity for building up its own “defense autonomy” to complement arms purchases from the United States.
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