On Friday 14 January, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen attended a ceremony to commission the Republic of China Navy’s First and Second Mining Operations Squadrons.
A budget of over $33 million was established in 2017 to pay for the four minelayers, all four of which have now been delivered (the last two in December 2021). The vessels are being built by Lungteh Shipbuilding at I-Lan, Taiwan.
Initial work began on 24 May, 2019, to provide ROCN with three catamarans corvettes which were being built to an improved Tuo Jiang II design and four mine-laying ships of the Min Jiang class.
Each minelayer displaces 347 tons at full load with a maximum speed of 14 knots. Aside from the mines each ship has a T-75 cannon and T74 machine guns.
Lungteh lists a capability to build a variety of naval vessels including 60 metre missile corvettes, 28m missile boats, as well as 17m and 15m multi-purpose attack craft.
The vessels will use an indigenously developed automated mine laying system from Taiwan’s Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology, formerly part of the Republic of China Ministry of National Defense’s Armaments Bureau. its mine development includes the No.2 Wan Xiang Bottom Mine and a moored mine.
by Andrew Drwiega