Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's first locally designed stealth missile corvette, the 502-ton Tuo Chiang (Tuo River), began sea trials of its dynamic system Monday.
The ship was towed from the Lung Teh Shipbuidling Co. at the port of Nanfangao in Yilan County and sailed to waters south of Kueishan Island and north of Hualien Harbor.
Despite heavy seas off the port of Suao, the twin-hull construction of the corvette enabled it to maintain high-speed navigation.
The Navy said the tests entailed checking whether the engine can meet the requirements of traveling at high and low speeds.
After that, assembly and testing of its Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles will be carried out before the ship is turned over to the Navy for a nine-month period of tactical testing.
The armaments of the ship, described as an "aircraft carrier-killer" by local media, include eight Hsiung Feng II and Eight Hsiugn Feng III anti-ship missiles, an Otobreda 76 mm gun, four 12.7 mm machine guns and a MK15 phalanx close-in weapon system.
Construction of the vessel began in November 2012 and it was christened in March this year.
It has a maximum speed of 38 knots and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. It measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width and carries a crew of 41.
The Navy said the ship, with its high mobility, strong firepower and stealth features, will enhance the country's defense ability.
The Navy plans to commission between eight and 12 of the corvettes if sufficient budget can be obtained.
Each one costs about NT$2.2 billion (US$72.38 million).
Legislator Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang said earlier that the Navy relies mainly on higher tonnage ships, such as its Kidd-class destroyers, but these nearly 10,000-ton ships move relatively slowly and can be an obvious target at sea.
He noted that the combat area in the Taiwan Strait is not large and does not need high-tonnage warships, hence the idea behind developing the corvette.
The Navy's 20 Guanghua VI-class fast attack missile boats currently in service will serve during a transitional period in moving toward smaller ships.
The Guanghua VI-class boat has a displacement of 186.5 tons and a maximum draught of 3 meters, while the Tuo Chiang has a displacement of 500 tons and a maximum draught of 2.3 meters, allowing it to move easily in and out of small fishing harbors, a feature that Lin touted, saying that the corvette could be hidden among fishing boats.
Read the original article on Focus Taiwan