Domestic production of ships and submarines is an important force-building plan for the navy. To reinforce the navy’s strength, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Nov. 17 unveiled a plan to build an anti-air light frigate at a keel-laying ceremony in Kaohsiung’s Zuoying (左營) naval base. Six each of two types of frigates — anti-air and anti-submarine frigates — are expected to be built to boost the capacity of the existing second-rate fleet.
In recent years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has frequently pushed close the waters east of the Taiwan Strait median line, exhausting Taiwan’s military resources. In addition, the PLA’s fleet consists of significant numbers of first-rate, second-rate and third-rate ships.
Given the degree of intimidation by the PLA, it is not cost-effective for Taiwan’s navy, which has a smaller fleet and relatively limited options regarding vessel types, to send a much larger first-rate ship to intercept the PLA’s second-rate ships.
Meanwhile, due to their smaller tonnage, it is not easy for third-rate ships to carry out long maritime operations. Building more second-rate ships is therefore a pragmatic move.
Information disclosed by the media and the military shows that the biggest highlight of the anti-air light frigate is that it is equipped with a vertical launching system that can carry 32 domestically produced TC-2N (海劍二) anti-aircraft missiles. The missiles’ excellent performance coupled with the indigenous vertical launching system makes the light frigate’s engagement speed far superior to other launching vehicles.
Vertical launching systems have become standard equipment for the capital ships of several navies, including the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ Atago-class destroyer, the Republic of Korea Navy’s Sejong the Great-class destroyer and the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Formidable-class frigate. The biggest advantages of the vertical launching system are its fast engagement, zero blind spot for shooting and relatively large amounts of ammunition.
More importantly, the indigenous vertical launching system represents Taiwan’s progress in indigenous warships and its official integration with international standards.
Ray Song is a doctoral student in Tamkang University’s Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr in a letter to an unnamed US senator on Feb. 9 said that China has offered to “fill every hotel room,” in Palau, “and more if more are built” if the small island nation were to break ties with Taiwan. The letter further claims that China offered US$20 million per year for the creation of a “call center” in Palau, a nation whose economy relies heavily on tourism. It is more evidence that for China, tourism is an economic tool for its political gain. Cleo Paskal, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, posted
Due to enduring the Kafkaesque situation of having two accidents in 30 minutes, one involving an accident with an ambulance, I would like to share my personal experience. Both cases show the loopholes of Taiwanese law, which is a driving factor for the terrible traffic conditions in the nation. I was driving my scooter on the main road in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅). Despite there being no cars behind me, a young man in an old car made a sudden left turn and I bumped into his vehicle. At first, the man tried to run away, but was blocked by other
It has been a year since China relaxed the “zero COVID-19” measures that had been stifling economic activity, but the country has yet to experience the rebound that policymakers and pundits anticipated. Instead, economic indicators from last year have painted a disheartening picture. The fallout from the massive property developer Evergrande’s 2021 collapse is far from over, and the sector continues to struggle, even after the Chinese government relaxed purchasing restrictions in cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. China’s financial health has also declined as local government debt has snowballed, leading Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit outlook in December last year.
Beijing’s diplomatic offensive highlighted by Lin Tzu-Yao (林子堯) and Cathy Fang in a recent op-ed (“Beijing’s new diplomatic offensive,” Feb. 7, page 8) is nothing new, as were the authors’ unwarranted smears on Taiwan’s major opposition party. They peculiarly meshed together a wide array of talking points to try to put an innocent face on president-elect William Lai (賴清德), concealed behind the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) failure to manage cross-strait relations and ties with diplomatic allies. They also attempted to discredit anyone who dares to oppose the DPP’s imagination-based politics. It was most unfortunate that the authors deliberately misconstrued parts of Taiwanese