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Tien Tan Advanced Combat System Ship [AEGIS]

Taiwan has sought to purchase the American AEGIS Advanced Combat System in an effort to boost sea defenses against the mainland, and has developed plans to buy as many as four Aegis destroyers. Taiwan regards the ACS system on board the Aegis-guided missile destroyer as a standard for the navy in the 21st century. If approved, the ship will be known as the "ACS Ship" or Tien Tan (Altar of Heaven ) and would be commissioned in 2008 at the earliest.

The navy had intended to upgrade the eighth Cheng Kung-class missile frigate the Tien Tan, to Aegis-class by equipping it with Aegis-class weaponry systems. The Taiwan Navy PFG-2 Class frigates variant of the US Navy PERRY (FFG 7) Class included incorporation of unique Taiwan weapons and ship systems into the Class. An upgrade of the Class was developed incorporating a Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1F phased array radar, vertical launch system and other anti-air warfare features, as well as signature improvements. In 1992 the United States offered this scaled-back version of the Aegis system for installation on Taiwan's Perry-class frigates. Taiwan had evaluated the possibility of building two more Chen Kung-class warships equipped with a "mini-AEGIS" systems, but the Chen Kung is too small for the system and the performance of the mini-AEGIS might prove sub-standard. The program was finally suspended due to the cost and technical risk involved.

Navy Deputy Chief-of-Staff expressed Taiwan's interest in Aegis to American officials in 1998, and during his visit to US in late 1998, Chief-of-General Staff Tang Fei was advised of US willingness to transfer such technology. At that point, it was contemplated that the United State might consider selling the requested warships to Taiwan after the current US construction program was completed in 2002. But the DDG-51 program was never "completed" and after a detour around the DDG-1000 program, seemed destined to continue into perpertuity.

The construction period for an Aegis-class warship is approximately 4 years, so the first ordered warship could be completed in 2006. This, plus 2 years for training, means that the ordered warships could be commissioned in 2008 at the earliest. On the eve of the annual US-Taiwan defense procurement talks it appeared that an understanding has been reached whereby the United States would agree to transfer Aegis combat system technology to Taiwan. The ROC military submitted a formal request for the AEGIS Advanced Combat System (ACS) during the April 1999 meeting. American officials indicated that while export of the combat system can be further discussed, sale of entire Aegis warships to Taiwan would not be possible given possible objections from Beijing.

Consequently, Taiwan may devise its own hull solution for the Aegis platform. Taiwan continued to look for countries with the capability of building the platform for the ACS system, which include Japan, Spain, Italy and France. The displacement of this vessel may be between 9,000 and 12,000 tons and its exterior will be designed with the stealth capability similar to the Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer and the Lafayette class frigate. While Taiwan is continuing to seek the sale of the whole Aegis warship, talks were put on hold because of the anti-US sentiment in China resulting from NATO's 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Given budgetary constraints, Taiwan must choose between the purchase of the Aegis-guided missile destroyer or new submarines, although priority is given to the purchase of Aegis-guided missile destroyer. Due to the high cost of Aegis ships, the military has revised the requirement (downward) to between two and four units, depending on budgetary resources. The ROC General Staff has expressed concerns about the Navy's ability to meet the ship's manning requirements, and about potential susceptibility of such high-value naval targets to PRC attacks. The Navy tentatively plans to deploy the Aegis ships on Taiwan's east coast, so as to reduce potential vulnerabilities.

The military's Chung Shan Institute of Science and Tech-nology developed a shipborne missile vertical launching system (VLS) similar to that used on the AEGIS-class ships of the US navy, local media reported in October 2002. The VLS was in the testing phase after nearly 10 years of development. The system, if it goes into production, could be deployed on several ships, including the Chengkung-class frigate, Lafayette-class frigate, Knox-class frigate and the Kidd-class destroyers the US has agreed to sell to Taiwan.

The system was initially designed for the eighth Chengkung-class frigate, which originally was to have been equipped with the Advanced Combat System (ACS) of the US Navy's AEGIS-class ships. Construction of the eighth Chengkung-class frigate had been delayed for financial and political reasons. The navy has resumed construction but the ship will have to do without the ACS.

Although the navy's plans to deploy the VLS on the advanced Chengkung frigate had been shelved, the system has been modified for use on other types of ships. The system is similar to the Mk-41 vertical launching system now in use on the Aegis-equipped ships of the US Navy. Taiwan's system is designed to fire the domestically-built Tien Chien-II anti-aircraft missile. There are two types of Tien Chien-II missiles that could be fired from the VLS: the normal type, which has been made public -- and an enlarged version, which had not been made public.

Larry Wortzel, director of Asia studies at the Heritage Foundation, proposed that the US begin building four extra Arleigh Burke destroyers without promising them to Taiwan. In 2005, when the destroyers would be complete, the US could either sell them to Taiwan or keep them for US needs. According to US Department of Defense estimates, it might take eight to ten years to define an Aegis system configuration for Taiwan's navy, build the ships, and integrate them into Taiwan's fleet. In early 2001 it appeared that President Bush's top aides had concluded that Taiwan did not yet have the capacity to incorporate the Aegis system into a network that could protect Taiwan against a missile attack.

As of early 2001 China had about 300 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, and was adding to the this force at a rate of about 50 missiles each year. Each Aegis destroyer can carry up to 96 interceptors, which is enough to intercept perhaps 50 to 75 incoming missiles. By 2008, when the Aegis-equipped ships might enter Taiwan's fleet, China might have over 700 missiles within range of Taiwan. Thus, by 2008 Taiwan might require at least ten Aegis-class ships, were it to rely on this system alone for missile defense purposes. And apart from whatever anti-missile capabilities might be provided by other land-based systems, Taiwan might need to add an additional Aegis-class ship to its fleet every year thereafter to counter a continued Chinese missile buildup.

In late 2002 the US government was discussing a program for Taiwan to acquire the Aegis combat system, if Taipei agreed to build the platform to carry it. The project would be based on South Korea's KDX-3 Aegis destroyer programme. An offer was expected to be made officially in 2003 or 2004. The plan will help China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC), which would build the ships.

In August 2004 it was reported that the United States planned to sell four Aegis missile-defense warships to the island to help protect against an estimated 500 ballistic missiles aimed at it by China.

The $3.5 billion sale would be announced in 2005 with delivery to begin in 2011, if the Legislature passes the budget in 2007. But a defense source, said that Taiwan hadn't submitted a Letter Of Request, thus it would be impossible for the US to makes such an announcement. When Taiwan's Navy submitted a Letter of Request in 2002 to US authorities requesting AEGIS-equipped warships, the Bush Administration did not respond. At that time orders for additional AEGIS-equipped ships by the US Navy are scheduled to end around late 2006 or early 2007, with the final Arleigh-Burke being delivered in 2011.

With the subsequent truncation of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt program, construtionof the Arleigh Burke class was extended, seemingly until the end of time.

Wendell Minnick reported 20 September 2014 that "The Navy will introduce the plan to the public in November for local build programs for four 10,000-ton destroyers, 10 to 15 3,000-ton catamaran frigates, amphibious transport docks to replace 11 dock landing ships and tank landing ships, and four-to-eight diesel 1,200-3,000-ton submarines to replace two Dutch-built submarines...."

This appears to be the latest iteration of the long standing and long delayed Navy wish list that has been around since at least the turn of the century. Under the latest version of the plan, the Tien Tan AEGIS Advanced Combat System Ship would be locally built, whereas at one time consideration had been given to buying US-built Arleigh Burke vessels. The new destroyers will be equipped with Aegis combat systems and the cost of building each ship is estimated to come in at up to NT$ 15 billion (US$ 500 million).

In mid-2016, the navy announced a series of shipbuilding projects, including the construction of six to eight new main warships equipped with the Aegis Combat System (ACS) to replace Kidd-class destroyers. Taiwans version of ACS-equipped naval vessels would displace between 6,000 tonnes and 8,000 tonnes based on previously planned ACS-equipped ships. Without a good radar system, a warship with the VLS is not any better than a ship without the system.

As for the "new generation of main warships." Taiwan Navy Command said that the Taiwan shipbuilding industry would build their own the "Aegis warships", similar to the US military's strongest "Burke" class destroyers. It was reported that the "new generation of main warships" equipped with "Aegis" would have displacement of 6000 ~ 8000 tons, and based on Spain's similar Alvaro de Bazan F-100 Frigate, would be about 500 feet long. It was expected to build 4 to 6 to replace the existing "Kidd" class.

The first "national" "Aegis" ship will be equipped with active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar (ie active phased array radar) for air defense and anti-missile. The ship will be equipped with "sea gazelle" sea air defense system, and four 8-unit vertical missile launch system, can launch 32 missiles. The system is also able to accommodate Taiwan's own "day bow" III anti-ballistic missile system. Anti-ship, the destroyer will be equipped with 16 "glory" III missiles. In addition, the destroyer will also be equipped with BAE Systems developed 127 mm caliber Mk45 Mod 4 gun. Taiwan claims that the destroyer will build four ships, the first ship will be delivered in 2019. In the video of the show, the ship intercepted the liberation of the fighters (but from the 3D model is F14) launched the Eagle Shooting 12 anti-ship missiles, and fired the three missiles of the PLA naval warships.

In January 2017 Taiwan's National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) released an animated video of a future guided-missile destroyer being designed for the Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy in a simulated battle. The video appeared to show the warship outfitted with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for air and missile defense systems. There also seems to be a second set of radar arrays on a smaller mast on the aft of the vessel, which the website Navy Recognition believes could be X-band radar.

In terms of anti-missile/aircraft defense the ship looked to be equipped with 16 Sea Oryx naval air defense missiles, a type of surface-to-air missile (SAM). There are also 4 modules of a vertical launching system (VLS) with 8 cells each for a total of 32 missiles, which could be a naval version of the Tien Kung III (Sky Bow) anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system that was 85 percent based on American Patriot missile technology. To battle surface vessels, the destroyer is equipped with 16 anti-ship missiles, and the video showed the launch of the new Hsiung Feng III (Brave Wind III) missiles. Lastly, the warship looked to have a BAE Systems 5 inch Mark 45 Mod 4 naval gun mounted on the forward deck and a helicopter pad on the aft deck.

According to Navy Recognition, the destroyer's displacement will be between 6,000 and 8,000 tons, with the first tranche of US$600 million in funding expected this year and the lead ship slated to be delivered in 2019.

According to Taiwan media reported on 20 June 2017, the Taiwan Navy announced a "national shipbuilding" planning content, scheduled from 2018 to 2040, to spend NT $ 470 billion (about 15 billion US dollars). Which was regarded as "Taiwan version of the Aegis ship" and "new generation of main warships" schematic for the first time were revealed. Local media had reported in 2016 that the Navy is hoping to build 6-8 Aegis-equipped destroyers to replace its aging Kidd-class fleet, which they have been calling the most eye-catching plan among the 12 projects.

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Page last modified: 31-07-2017 18:36:00 ZULU