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Taiwanese navy commissions two Cheng Kung-class frigates

09 November 2018
The RoCN commissioned guided-missile frigate – formerly USS – on 8 November. Source: RoCN

The Republic of China Navy (RoCN) commissioned two Cheng Kung (ex-US Oliver Hazard Perry)-class guided-missile frigates in a ceremony held on 8 November at the Zuoying Naval Base on Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung.

PFG-1112 Ming Chuan and PFG-1115 Feng Chia - ex-USS Taylor (FFG 50) and ex-USS Gary (FFG 51) - entered service in an event presided over by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and will join the RoCN's 146th Flotilla - Attack Squadron based at Makung, Penghu County. The vessels, which are now the 9th and 10th frigates of the class operated by the RoCN, will be responsible for patrolling the Taiwan Strait.

"Faced with traditional and nontraditional challenges, we will resolutely strengthen our self-defence capabilities and safeguard the people of Taiwan's freedom and democratic way of life," tweeted Tsai following the event.

Built in the 1980s, the two 138.1 m-long frigates were formally transferred to the RoCN at a ceremony held on 9 March in the US state of South Carolina, A few days after the transfer the Taipei Times newspaper quoted Tsai Shih-ying, a Democratic Progressive Party legislator, as saying that the vessels had been retrofitted "to extend their service lives by about 30 years, making them a highly cost-effective option for the navy".

The move came after the US Department of State announced in December 2015 that it had approved the possible sale, refurbishment, and upgrade of two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to be provided to Taiwan as Excess Defence Articles (EDAs) for an estimated USD190 million.

According to an announcement made at the time by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), each vessel was to be equipped with the MK 92 MOD 6 fire control system, the SQQ-89V(9) anti-submarine warfare system, the MK 75 76 mm gun system, the Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon system (Block 18), the MK 13 guided-missile launching system, the AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare system, the AN/SPS-49 radar, the AN/SQR-19 towed array sonar, and the AN/SQS-56 sonar.

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