Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Navy welcomes home its two new Kidd-class vessels

CNA , TAIPEI

Two of the four Kidd-class destroyers purchased from the US in 2003 arrived at the military base in Suao (蘇澳) on Thursday.

Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Chen Pang-chih (陳邦治) directed the whole port-entrance maneuvering of the two destroyers, named the Keelung (基隆艦) and the Suao (蘇澳艦), which were delivered to the navy on Oct. 29 from a shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is expected to travel to Suao later this month to officiate at a ceremony marking the commissioning of the two destroyers.

Navy officers and seed instructors, as well as repair and maintenance technicians have received training in the US to prepare for the delivery of the two de-mothballed destroyers, which have also undergone sea trials and weaponry systems tests over the past month, the navy officials said.

The other two destroyers are expected to be delivered by the end of next year.

The government purchased the four mothballed destroyers, built in the late 1970s, at a cost of NT$24 billion (US$73 million) in June 2003.

Officials said that after the two destroyers are commissioned, they will form the outer periphery of a naval defensive fleet, while the Perry-class, Knox-class and Lafayette-class frigates will play an inner-circle role.

The Kidd-class destroyers will target enemy planes that have fired missiles, allowing other vessels to deal with the incoming missiles, they said.

The government submitted a shopping list of advanced warships in 2001, but the Bush administration later approved the sale of only the older Kidd-class destroyers.

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