Taiwan to Receive Two US-Made Frigates in 2015

The R.O.C. military is scheduled to receive its first batch of two Perry-class frigates from the United States in 2015 to replace its existing fleet of aging frigates, a senior Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said yesterday.

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Wednesday approved legislation paving the way for the U.S. to sell four Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.

The bill titled “The Naval Vessel Transfer and Arms Export Control Amendments Act of 2013” still must pass the U.S. Congress.

Asked to comment on when Taiwan is expected to receive the warships, Navy Chief of Staff Kao Tien-chung (高天忠) told lawmakers that the R.O.C Armed Forces could receive the first two ships of the four-vessel order in 2015.

“The U.S. has so far agreed to sell us four frigates, and two of them will be delivered in 2015,” Kao said during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The MND has allocated NT$5.2 billion in defense spending to buy two frigates from the U.S., he added.

Kao said the American frigates are expected to replace two aging Knox-class frigates in the Republic of China Navy.
The R.O.C. Navy currently operates eight U.S.-made Knox-class frigates that were built in the 1960s, and later transferred to Taiwan in the 1990s.

This class of frigates was later designated as the Chi-Yang class (濟陽級) and assigned to the Navy's Yilan-based 168th Patrol Squadron.

Speaking during the same session yesterday, Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) said that the Taiwan military is also considering the option of building its own warships.

Kao also said during the hearing that Taiwan will design and build one salvage ship prototype and another amphibious warfare ship sometime between 2015 and 2018.

The Amendments Act passed Wednesday in Washington would authorize the sale of four frigates to Taiwan, namely the USS Taylor (FFG-50), USS Gary (FFG-51), USS Carr (FFG-52) and USS Elrod (FFG-55).

The four warships were commissioned between 1984 and 1985 and, except for the USS Gary, which was decommissioned in March, are all in active service.

Kao also confirmed at the legislative session yesterday that Taiwan is expected to spend another NT$5 billion to procure an additional 36 AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles.

In 2006, Taiwan procured 54 of those vehicles to replace its aging LVTP-5A1 vehicles acquired in the 1970s.   [via]

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