President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday commissioned the Republic of China Navy (RoCN, Taiwan Navy)’s domestically made “Ta Chiang” (PGG-619) stealth guided missile corvette, the first of six vessels with air defense capabilities described as “aircraft carrier killers.” The Ta Chiang was launched at a base in Suao, Yilan County, Taiwan. The corvete going into service amounted to “giving wings to a tiger” for the Navy’s efforts to defend the country. The Ta Chiang, which also has stealth characteristics and carries anti-ship missiles, spent the past nine months testing and training for its tasks.
Ta Chiang completed the testing and evaluation and has been positively received by military analysts. The Ta Chiang is designed to carry up to eight Hsiung Feng II subsonic anti-ship missiles, eight Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missiles, a Phalanx Close-In Weapons System, and a 76 mm (3 in) main gun. The ship has been fitted with the Sea Sword II missile system developed by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology. The Sea Sword II is an active radar-guided mid-range air defense missile that completed testing earlier this year. It can engage with anti-ship missiles and threats from airplanes simultaneously.
The ship is a catamaran design which is 65 metres long, 14 metres wide and carries a crew of 41. It is capable of a top speed of 45 knots and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. The ship features a combat system that includes a distributed-architecture combat direction system known as “Taiwan Aegis” and an indigenous search/track and fire-control radar and electro-optical director. It can also operate in shallow or coastal waters where larger vessels, such as destroyers and frigates, find it hard to operate. With the use of stealth technology, the corvette is able to avoid detection.
The Lung Teh Shipbuilding has been contracted to build five more corvettes for the navy by 2023. It is designed to counter the numerous and increasingly sophisticated People’s Liberation Army Navy ships by utilizing hit-and-run tactics, and thus featured clean upper structure design with very few extrusions to reduce radar signature, pre-cooled engine exhaust to reduce infrared signature, and a reduced visual signature to reduce chance of detection. The ship increases its survivability in naval warfare by utilizing advanced stealth technology and low radar cross section (RCS).