The Taiwan Navy calls it the “aircraft carrier killer.”
Perhaps the term is over-used, but it seems anything that carries missiles these days, is considered a carrier killer.
The question of the kill chain — how to find the target, track the target, get close to it, and survive carrier force defenses, is never quite broached.
So let’s put a hold on the carrier killer hype.
Taiwan’s Navy on Tuesday (December 15) launched its first heavily armed corvette, with lethal subsonic and supersonic missiles, The Taiwan News reported.
During a ceremony at Lungteh Shipyard in Yilan’s Su-ao Township, President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the launch of Taiwan’s first domestically built Tuo Chiang-class guided-missile corvette.
Not to be confused with the Anping-class offshore patrol vessel, the first of which was launched for the Coast Guard Administration on Friday (Dec. 11), the Navy version is much more heavily armed, as it is designed for combat with Chinese warships.
The most obvious difference between the Anping-class patrol boats and the Tuo Chiang-class ships is the fact that the latter comes equipped with an OTO Melara 76 mm naval gun on its forward deck, Taiwan News reported.
The Tuo Chiang-class corvettes come fully loaded with Sea Sword II anti-aircraft missiles, eight subsonic Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) anti-ship missiles, eight supersonic Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) medium-range missiles, one Phalanx CIWS, two 12.7 mm Browning M2HB machine guns, and two Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes.
The Anping-class boats are mainly meant for law enforcement purposes and are lightly armed with a water cannon, 20 mm cannon, and high explosive rockets. However, in the event of a war, these ships can also be upgraded to carry the HF-2 and HF-3 missile systems, Taiwan News reported.
Both ships, which are built by the Kaohsiung-based Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Group, feature a modern catamaran design, which provides better stability, maneuverability, less draft, greater speed, and superior fuel efficiency.
The Tuo Chiang-class corvettes have a length of 60.4 meters, displacement of 685 tons, a maximum operational range of 1,800 miles, and a top speed of 43 knots, according to Lungteh Shipbuilding, Taiwan News reported.
The name Tuo Chiang is derived from the Tawa River in Taitung County. The river basin is home to the Paiwan Indigenous people, who have hunted in the area since ancient times and are known for their fearlessness and bravery in war.
The first Tuo Chiang-class ship will officially be delivered to the Navy in July 2021.
If anyone doubts the effectiveness of corvette-class ships, one only has to look the Second World War and the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy’s corvette gunships.
The term “corvette” was originally a French name for a small sailing warship, intermediate between the frigate and the sloop-of-war.
According to historians, its success in World War II can be measured in terms of tonnage protected, rather than U-boats sunk.
Typical reports of convoy actions by these craft include numerous instances of U-boat detection near a convoy, followed by brief engagements using guns or depth charges and a rapid return to station as another U-boat took advantage of the initial skirmish to attack the unguarded convoy.
Thirty-six ships in the class were lost during World War II, many due to enemy action.
Of the vessels lost to enemy action, 22 were torpedoed by U-boats, five were mined, and four were sunk by enemy aircraft. The corvettes are credited with participating in the sinking of 47 German and four Italian submarines.
In addition to the new Taiwan corvettes, China will have even more to deal with right on its coastal doorstep.
The US Navy Flight III destroyers, a new class of warship intended to propel the service’s ability to wage massive war on the open seas, will be armed with laser weapons, electronic warfare, long-range precision-strike weapons and over-the-horizon missiles.
The technological backbone of these new advanced ships, which is now integrated on the first Flight III destroyer, the USS Jack Lucas, is a new family of AN/SPY-6 high-power, highly-sensitive, long-range radar systems that bring exponential improvements when it comes to threat tracking, identification and counterattack.
Any guesses on where they are going to patrol?