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.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn