Navy takes delivery of two more rapid mine-laying ships, increasing asymmetric combat power

Taiwan’s ROC Navy officially took delivery of two rapid mine-laying ships at a ceremony yesterday, December 16, marking an upgrade in national defense research and development, and the improvement of naval mine-laying capability.

The two vessels, FMLB-2 and FMLB-3 are the second and third of four rapid mine-laying ships to be built by domestic shipbuilder Lungteh Shipbuilding. The first of the tentatively-named “Minjiang” Class mine-laying ships was launched August 4, 2020.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, the ships will greatly enhance Taiwan’s mine combat capacity and effectively counter threats from China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The vessels are 41 meters long, 8.8 meters wide, have a draft of 1.7 meters, and a displacement of 347 tons, fully loaded. The ships can operate at a maximum speed of 14 knots, and are fitted with a 20 millimeter T75 main gun, and two T74 machine guns.

The rapid mine-laying ships are equipped with an automated mine-laying system developed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST). The system enables the crew to lay mines rapidly and with high accuracy in defense of critical waterways, to prevent enemy ships, including amphibious landing craft from reaching key strategic areas.

At yesterday’s ceremony at the Port of Su’ao, Admiral Liu Chih-Pin presented flags to Captains Hong and Tsai, who took command of the vessels. Officers and crew of the respective ships, boarded the vessels and held a flag-raising ceremony.

Admiral Liu said in a speech that the joint efforts of NCSIST, Longteh Shipbuilding company, and the Navy produced an outstanding success, and showed the people the determination of the armed forces to defend the sea and territories.

Admiral Liu said that the geostrategic environment required Taiwan build an asymmetrical combat force. The rapid mine-laying boats can rapidly deploy defense of areas including ports, to prevent or delay enemy landing operations, providing heavy deterrent combat power.

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