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    Kuang Hua VII / VIII corvette

    Taiwan had a need to replace the Knox frigates, which were built in the 1970s. The original Kuang Hua V program was cancelled. As of 2004 one contender was the Kuang Hua 7 Light Frigate. However it was in discussion phase, where it remained. The distinction between corvettes and frigates is blurred, and is not helped by references to 'light frigates'. Parameters of length and displacement help define the two but are not absolute. In two of the world's major reference works, Jane's Fighting Ships and the US Naval Institute's Combat Fleets of the World, the corvette tends to be a vessel between 55 and 85 meters long with a 1300 to 5000-ton displacement. The frigate is seen as between 86 and 140 meters in length with a displacement of between 1300 to 5000 tons. But these are not hard and fast rules.

    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. As of 2004 Taiwan had plans for the Kuang Hua 7 program in which eight 2000-ton corvettes of conventional design were to replace the Knox class. As usual, a decade later nothing had come of this scheme, which was superceded by the plan for 10 to 15 3,000-ton catamaran frigates. The new ships will be completely built in Taiwan at an estimated rate of one ship per year. A total of 15 would completely replace the Chi Yang [ex US Knox] and Cheng Kung [ex US Perry] frigates.

    Catamaran vessels have good speed characteristics due to optimum hydrodynamic shape of the hull, geometrical dimensions relationship, and most importantly, the length of the hull. Hulls are separate with a distance between them not less than the beam of the hull, which makes it possible to avoid negative interference of hulls' wave systems. However, such vessels have low seaworthiness in rough seas due to considerable amplitudes of pitching and vertical rocking, causing shock overloads. Increase in seaworthiness is possible by using constructive peculiarities of catamarans, placing between their hulls hydrofoil-stabilizers, the most simple and effective ones of which are shallow-submergence hydrofoils.

    One sources reported that local shipyards will build six frigates of Project Kuang Hua 8 [this project is otherwise un-attested], armed with Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles. An NT$12 billion (US$406 million) program for equipping navy vessels with the HF-3 was announced in May 2011. the Ministry of National Defense plan involves outfitting patrol boats, frigates and an under-development fast-attack corvette with 120 of the missiles. Manufactured by Taoyuan-based Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the Ministry of National Defenses main R&D outfit, the missile entered service two years ago and around 250 are operational. It was first unveiled to much acclaim in 2007 during a National Day military parade in Taipei City.

    As of 2004 Taiwan had plans for the Kuang Hua 7 program in which eight 2000-ton ships would replace the Knox class. The Kuang Hua 7 program has superseded the former Kuang Hua 5 program for the procurement of a new class of frigates/corvettes to replace the Knox class frigates. It is understood that there is a requirement for up to eight new ships of above 2,000 tons with a main armament of Hsiung Feng-II missiles. It is not clear whether the ships are to be procured abroad (ex-US Spruance class are a possibility) or built locally.




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