The Ministry of National Defense on Monday awarded the bid for a government program to build amphibious warships, codenamed the Hung Yun Project (鴻運計畫), to CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船) who is to produce two vessels for NT$4.6 billion (US$156 million).
According to the ministry’s timetable, the new ships are to officially enter service in 2021.
It would be the first project under the President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s indigenous shipbuilding program, ministry officials said.
The ship is expected to have great mobility and move at up to 21 knots (39kph) with a cruising range of 7,000 nautical miles (12,964km). It is to carry amphibious landing craft, model 7A1 assault amphibious vehicles, heavy trucks, Humvees and helicopters, the official said.
The ship could operate as a field hospital during peace time and could be used in providing humanitarian aid to foreign nations, the official said.
The ministry plans to acquire 153m-long ships with a displacement of 10,000 tonnes, equipped with 76mm guns, a Phalanx close-in weapon system and the shipborne variant of the Tien Chien II medium-range missile launcher, the ministry said.
The project has been hampered by a lack of interest from bidders, as the ministry originally budgeted only NT$3.7 billion for two vessels, and it was only after it raised the budget in January that the first proposals were received.
The project was conceived in 2008 to replace the navy’s ROCS Chung Cheng, which was refitted from the USS Comstock, a Casa Grande-class dock landing ship commissioned by the US in 1945, but the plan languished for nearly 10 years due to a lack of funding.
The ministry plans to have the ship conduct sea trials by 2020 and begin service with the Taiwanese navy by 2021.
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