[Picture: Military News Agency] President Tsai Ing-wen attended a ceremony at the Zuoying naval base in Kaohsiung City this morning to commission two frigates designed to improve Taiwan’s anti-submarine warfare capability.
The Mingchuan and Fengjia are Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates formerly known as the USS Taylor (FFG-50), and USS Gary (FFG-51). The ships were purchased from the United States Navy under an agreement signed in 2014, and underwent a 2-year refit before sailing to Taiwan earlier this year.
According to the ROC navy, the vessels are characterized by high speed, maneuverability, and low-noise. The ships are equipped with SQR-19 towed sonar array systems, providing an enhanced anti-submarine detection capability to a range of up to 120 kilometers, and the AN/SQQ-89 Undersea Warfare Combat System developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States Navy.
On deck, the frigates are armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, along with air defense missiles.
President Tsai said in a speech that strengthening military capacity by commissioning the ships sends a clear and firm message to the people of Taiwan and the international community that: “We defend the Republic of China on Taiwan and guard its liberal democratic lifestyle. We will not give in even one step.”
Tsai said that protecting the sovereignty and territory of the country and safeguarding the people’s security and freedom are the sacred responsibility of the government and the national military.
President Tsai singled out Beijing for increasing threats to regional stability and Taiwan’s sovereignty, not only through traditional military activities, but via the Internet and new media, with disinformation and hacking.
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