Kaohsiung, Sept. 7 (CNA) The Republic of China Navy took delivery of two locally-built 500-ton offshore patrol ships on Tuesday after the new vessels passed a series of tests on their navigation and weaponry systems operations.
The two Chin Chiang-class patrol vessels, christened Tan Chiang and Hsin Chiang respectively, were designed and built by the state-owned China Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC).
The two patrol boats have been completed for several months. During previous navigation tests, the ships' gun firing systems failed to meet requirements. The CBSC and the Navy sought the assistance of the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) for overhauling the firing system.
Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Hung Chen-lo, director of the planning department at the Naval Fleet Command, said the revised and upgraded gun firing systems installed on the Tan Chiang and Hsin Chiang patrol boats have passed stringent tests.
Hung further said the two warships' navigation and weaponry systems and integrated operations all comply with requirements listed in the contract signed between the Navy and the CSBC.
Despite their relatively light weight, Hung said, the two patrol boats have strong firepower and high mobility. "Moreover, they need only a small crew and their maintenance costs are cheap," he added.
The two new vessels will be responsible for port reconnaissance and regional patrol missions, Hung said, adding that during wartime, the two ships can be equipped with additional weaponry systems to assist mainstream combat forces in intercepting enemy warships and in anti-landing operations.
The Tan Chiang and Hsin Chiang are the first two of the 11 Chin Chiang-class offshore patrol ships the Navy has ordered from the CSBC under its "Kuanghua No. 3" naval ships modernization plan. The Navy signed the purchase contract with the CSBC in June 1997.
All the patrol ships to be built under the Kuanghua No. 3 plan will be patterned after the prototype ship christened Chin Chiang. And all of them will be named after major rivers in Taiwan. For instance, the Tan Chiang is named after the Tamsui River and the Hsin Chiang after the Hsintien River. (By Sofia Wu)