This year China sent a loud and clear message to the USA Navy when the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) conducted several tests of its new “aircraft carrier killer” Dong Feng missiles.
However, Beijing may have received a similar, and notably as clear message from Taipei this month after the Taiwanese Navy announced that it has launched the first of its heavily armed “carrier killer” corvettes.
The domestically-produced vessels have been touted as a key component to the run-away island nation’s defense efforts against its mainland neighbor.
The corvettes, which have earned the nickname “aircraft carrier killers,” are armed with subsonic and supersonic missiles.
President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the launch of the first Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvettes at a ceremony at the Lungteh Shipyard in Yilan’s Su-ao.
The launch of the corvette followed another launch of the first Anping-class offshore patrol vessel, which was launched by the Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration in 2020.
While the two vessels are similar, the Navy version is far more heavily armed, and is designed to take on Chinese warships.
The Tuo Chiang-class is equipped with an OTO Melara 76mm naval gun on its forward deck, and is armed with Sea Sword II anti-aircraft missiles, eight subsonic Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) anti-ship missiles.
But also eight supersonic Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) medium-range missiles, one Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS), two 12.7 mm Browning M2HB machine guns, and two Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes.
Both ships were built by the Kaohsiung-based Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Group, and feature a modern catamaran design. This can provide better stability, maneuverability, less draft, greater speed and superior fuel efficiency.
The Tuo Chiang-class corvettes have a length of 60.4 meters, displacement of 685 tons, a maximum operational range of 1,800 miles, and a top speed of 43 knots, according to Lungteh Shipbuilding.
National Interest / ABC Flash Point News 2021.