Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Taiwan to buy two U.S. frigates

The Republic of China Navy Command confirmed Monday that it is seeking to purchase two active Perry-class frigates from the United States.

The Navy Command said in a press release that the price and date of delivery will not be decided until after the U.S. Congress passes legislation allowing the transfer.

It denied a news report saying that the proposed acquisition includes a "mini-Aegis" fire control system and a vertical launch surface-to-air Standard I missile system.

Neither system was ever requested, the Navy Command said.

It was responding to a report in the Liberty Times Monday saying that the ships will be delivered to Taiwan's Navy next year at a total price of NT$600 million (US$20 million).

The paper said that Taiwan wants to replace its fleet of eight U.S.-made Knox-class frigates built in the 1960s.

The United States has eight Perry-class vessels, currently deployed by the U.S. Coast Guard, that are slated for decommissioning in fiscal 2013. Taiwan managed to secure only two of them, with the rest going to other U.S. allies, the paper said.

The 4,100-ton frigates will take over part of the anti-submarine mission currently shouldered by the Knox-class fleet deployed along Taiwan's eastern coast.

It will mark Taiwan's first acquisition of the Perry-class frigate from the United States, although eight were built under U.S. authorization in Taiwan. Called the Cheng Kung-class, the ships were deployed by the ROC Navy between 1993 and 2004.

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