Two refurbished mine hunters acquired by Taiwan will commence sea trials next month and are expected to be delivered to the Taiwanese Navy in May or June, British journal Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last week.
The two Osprey-class coastal mine-hunting ships USS Oriole and USS Falcon — both decommissioned from the US navy in June 2006 — were part of the US$6.4 billion arms package notified to US Congress in January 2010 as Excess Defense Articles.
The 895-tonne ships, renamed MHC 1310 Yung Jin and MHC 1311 Yung An, underwent comprehensive hull, machinery and combat management overhaul and upgrades in the US, Jane’s wrote.
At the time of announcement in 2010, the US$105 million deal was expected to include an overhaul of the AN/SQQ-32 sonar.
The ships, whose hulls are made of fiberglass and designed to survive an underwater explosion, use sonar and video equipment to detect moored and undersea mines and a remote-controlled mine detonating device to secure key waterways.
The Osprey-class ships will augment the Taiwanese navy’s mine-hunting capabilities, which currently rely on four Yung Yang-class (ex-US Agile-class) minesweepers built in the 1950s, four Yung Chia-class (ex-US Adjutant-class) coastal minesweepers, also built in the 1950s, and four German-made Yung Feng-class mine hunters commissioned in 1991.
Overhaul and reactivation work is almost complete and Taiwanese crews are receiving training ahead of the sea trials next month, Jane’s reported.
Taiwan had been seeking the Osprey-class ships since 2001. Military strategists say that China could use naval mines to impose a sea blockade against Taiwan in time of conflict.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy reportedly has between 10,000 and 100,000 naval mines in its inventory and is believed to conduct annual mine-laying exercises.
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
Ambassador Theaters on Tuesday announced that its Breeze Center cinemas in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) would close late this month after screening thousands of major Hollywood movies and local favorites over two decades. Ambassador Theaters, one of the largest cinema chain operators in Taiwan, said that Oct. 25 would be the last day the Breeze Center cinemas screen movies, adding that its lease expires on that day. “We sincerely appreciate the support and recognition from audiences in Taipei over the past 20 years,” the company said. “We look forward to seeing you again in the future.” The cinemas started operating in 2001, upon
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
THREATS: Dismissing Beijing’s assertion that its military exercises only target Taiwanese separatists, Chiu Kuo-cheng said war has no regard for political affiliation In case Taiwan is attacked, the military will defend the nation and not stand by like “plastic toys,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. Chiu was responding to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asking him to clarify his remark last week that “the military holds to the principle that we will not fire the first shot.” Wang asked Chiu whether he meant what he said literally or that Taiwan would not start a war. “The Republic of China will not start a war,” Chiu