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Taiwan officially starts construction of anti submarine light frigate.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Liberty Times Net on January 16, 2024, the Taiwanese Navy has commenced the construction of two prototype light frigates.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Keel laying ceremony of the air defense variant light frigate. (Picture source: Taiwanese presidency)

Following the start of the Air Defense variant last November, sources reveal that the Anti-Submarine variant officially began construction today. Unlike the air defense version, which is equipped with a vertical launching system, the anti-submarine model will feature inclined missile launchers and is set to be outfitted with towed array sonar systems, enhancing its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party's military threats towards Taiwan have intensified. Due to delays in acquiring new generation missile frigates with a displacement of 4500 tons, older ships like the Chi Yang-class frigates continue to monitor Chinese vessels under challenging conditions.

As a result, in 2022, the Taiwanese Navy redirected a budget of over 24.5 billion NT dollars from the missile frigate program to the construction of these two light frigate prototypes, one each of the anti-submarine and air defense types, each with a displacement of about 2500 to 3000 tons. The project was awarded to China Shipbuilding Corporation.

According to military plans, both light frigate prototypes are expected to be completed by 2026. The air defense prototype already began construction last November. The groundbreaking ceremony for the anti-submarine prototype was held today, attended by dignitaries including China Shipbuilding Corporation Chairman Han Bixiang and Navy Commander Admiral Tang Hua.

Upon the successful completion and commissioning of these two prototypes, and if they meet operational requirements, the Navy plans to produce an additional 10 ships of the same class.

These new ships are intended to eventually replace the approximately 50-year-old Chi Yang-class frigates. Unlike the air defense light frigates, which are equipped with vertically launched "Sea Sword II" anti-air missiles, the anti-submarine frigates will house anti-ship and anti-air missiles in inclined launchers. Both ship types will be equipped with BAE Systems’ ARTISAN 3D mid-range radars.

Regarding the armament of these frigates, Deputy Chief of Staff General Jiang Zhengguo, who served as the Navy's Chief of Staff in 2022, revealed in the Legislative Yuan that the light frigates would be armed with Sea Sword II anti-air missiles and extended-range supersonic anti-ship missiles (Hsiung Feng III extended-range).

The towed array sonar systems on the anti-submarine frigates are touted to be among the most advanced active and passive sonar systems in the world, though the country of manufacture was not disclosed.

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