President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the inauguration ceremony for two new rapid minelaying boats at Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung City today, December 14.
The two boats will form the 1st and 2nd Mine Boat Squadrons of the 192nd Fleet (Minesweeper Fleet) of the ROC Navy.
The navy spent NT$917.7 million to commission four of the vessels which were all delivered by Longteh Shipbuilding Company in 2021.
President Tsai said that the shipbuilding program demonstrates Taiwan’s achievements in promoting the defense industry, and shows the world Taiwan’s determination to defend the country.
President Tsai said that in the past, mine-laying operations at sea were carried out by naval officers and soldiers in landing craft with physical manpower. In addition to the limited speed of mine-laying, when ocean conditions were bad, the task would be more difficult to execute. The newly-built minelaying boats, with an automated minelaying system developed by National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST), are not only more resistant to wind and waves, but also more quickly and accurately accomplish minelaying operations.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency quoted naval defense experts who said that mines are low-cost, high-efficiency area denial weapons for operations in the Taiwan Strait; in combination with anti-ship missiles, forming a defensive network and a truly asymmetrical combat force.
The new type rapid minelaying boats are 41 meters long, 8.8 meters wide, have a draft of 1.607 meters, and a full-load displacement of 347 tons. The diesel engine powered vessels have a maximum operating speed of 14 knots, with a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles. They are armed with a T-75 20mm cannon on the bow, a T-747.62mm platoon machine gun on each side, and three automatic mine-laying rails.
See previous article: Navy takes delivery of two more rapid mine-laying ships, increasing asymmetric combat power.
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