Taiwan’s Lungteh Shipbuilding launched on 4 August the first of four fast minelaying ships being built for the Republic of China Navy (RoCN). The vessel received the pennant number FMLB-1 (likely for Fast Mine Laying Boat). The keel laying ceremony for the first-in-class ship took place on May 24 last year (along with three catamaran corvettes) while construction on the second ship of the class in ongoing. The event also marked the “mast raising” event for the first vessel. The first ship of the fast mine-laying craft program is expected to be delivered at the end of the year, according to the schedule.
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, the four mine laying ships are expected to be completed in 2021, which will greatly enhance Taiwan’s offensive mine fighting capacity and effectively counter the threat of the communist army. During the keel laying ceremony of the first-in-class ship, Taiwanese defense officials were quoted saying: “the mine layer ships were designed to face down an attack by amphibious vehicles trying to land in Taiwan, and would be equipped with a more precise automatic mine laying system”. The first mine laying vessel is expected to be delivered this year.
According to Lungteh Shipbuilding, the vessels have a length of 41 meters, a width of 8.8 meters, a draft of 1.7 meters and a full load displacement of 347 tons.In addition to the sea mines (carrying capacity is unknown) the vessel is fitted with a 20mm T75 gun mount (as main gun) and two T74 machine guns (manned 7.62×51 mounts). The vessel comes with an automatic mine-laying system and propulsion equipment that allows it to lay mines rapidly and with high accuracy. Construction of the last three vessels is expected to be completed in 2021. The maximum speed is 14 knots.