The Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) Navy expects to have 10 Tuo Chiang-class corvettes before 2026. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced recently the fourth to sixth ships are scheduled to be launched before the end of this year. Taiwan News reported that the RoC Navy has already launched the prototype Tuo Chiang and the Ta Chiang, Fu Chiang, and Hsu Chiang. The construction of the seventh to eleventh vessels is expected to be completed before 2026. This second batch of ships costs more than NT$9 billion (US$293.5 million). Additionally, the MND will begin building a fleet of eight light frigates starting next month. The ships, originally expected to weigh about 4,500 tons each, will now weigh 1,500-2,500 tons.
The Tuo Chiang-class corvette (Tuo River) is a Taiwanese-designed class of fast (up to 45 knots, 83 km/h, 52 mph) and stealthy multi-mission corvettes built for the Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy. 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 is a wave-piercing catamaran design which is 60.4 metres (198 ft) long, 14 metres (46 ft) wide and carries a crew of 41. It is capable of a top speed of 40 knots and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi).
Corvettes from the first batch are armed with 16 Sea Sword anti-aircraft missiles, eight Hsiung Feng II subsonic anti-ship missiles, and four Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missiles. However, the second batch of ships will be equipped with eight Hsiung Feng IIIs and four Hsiung Feng IIs. It is also armed with a Phalanx Close-In Weapons System, and a 76 mm (3 in) main gun. Taiwan Security Analysis Center (TAISAC) stated that the ship features stealth technologies to minimize radar detection, a combat system that includes a distributed-architecture combat direction system known as “Taiwan Aegis” developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology and an indigenous search/track and fire-control radar and electro-optical director.
The ship can operate up to sea state 7 in waves up to 20–30 ft (6.1–9.1 m) high. The ship increases its survivability in naval warfare by utilizing advanced stealth technology and low radar cross section (RCS), which makes it less detectable by radar and allows it to be obscured by background radar noise when operating closer to the coastline. The Navy pointed out that the new generation of corvettes will be responsible for reconnaissance and patrols in the Taiwan Strait, transportation, and escort to the nation’s outer islands. They will also be tasked with maintaining the safety of sea lines of communication and protecting Taiwan’s fishing rights.