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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

MND denies having finalized aging frigate replacement plan: MND

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/11 22:46:22

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has yet to decide on any specific plan to replace the military's aging Chiyang-class frigates, the ministry said in a statement Monday.

The ministry was responding to a local newspaper report that the Navy is considering procuring eight second-hand Perry-class frigates from the United States to replace its aging Chiyang-class frigates, also known as Knox-class frigates.

According to the report, the Navy plans to arm those Perry-class frigates with a version of the advanced Aegis Combat System which uses computers and radar to take out multiple targets, as well as state-of-the-art missile launch technology.

The report further said the Navy is also assessing the feasibility of another option -- procuring the U.S. Navy's newly commissioned littoral combat ships (LCS), which are relatively small surface vessels for operations in coastal areas.

The cost for each LCS is estimated at about NT$15 billion (US$468.75 million) , the report said, adding that as the vessel is designed for coastal defense, procuring this type of warship should be less sensitive.

China opposes any U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, while the United States is obligated to provide defensive weapons to Taiwan to maintain its national security under the Taiwan Relations Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979.

Commenting on the report, the ministry said the selection of options to replace Chiyang-class frigates will be based on a combination of factors, including the military's overall combat strategy, financial issues, combat needs and timing.

"We have yet to come up with any specific option so far, " the statement said.

(By Shih Hsing-yao and Sofia Wu) enditem/ls

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