(c) K.B. Sherman
Likely details of the Republic of China’s next generation guided missile destroyer (DDG) have been released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense. The class’ primary mission will be to provide area air defense (AAW) in defending against saturation anti-ship missile attacks launched by the People's Republic of China (PRC) air, surface, and subsurface platforms.
Begun in the late 1980s to replace Taiwan’s aging fleet of Wu Chin III DDs (ex-US Gearing class DDs from the 1940s), the replacement platform was first envisioned as a modified, stretched version of the Cheng Kung/Kwang Hua 1 class (PFG-2/modified Perry) design, which would have displaced around 5,000 tons. The ROCN reportedly planned to acquire as many as twelve such ships. This idea was later dropped in favor of buying the four US Kidd-class DDGs that the US had embargoed to Iran after the Shah’s fall, and had instead, used until mothballing them in the late 1990s only half-way through their useful life. Taipei was expected to have signed for them in May and will probably receive them by 2005 despite Beijing’s disapproval.
Since Burke-class DDGs are not likely to be approved for Taiwan, a construction contract by the ROCN for its planned four Aegis-like DDG is anticipated as early as 2007. Features of the 9,000 ton ship are expected to include AN/SPY-1D/F-like radar capability; one United Defense LP 127mm/54 Mk 45 Mod 1 or 2 gun; two Raytheon Phalanx Close-In-Weapon System (CIWS); eight Boeing Harpoon SSMs in two quad launchers; two Lockheed Martin Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) - 32 cells forward and 32 aft for Raytheon Standard SM-2ER SAMs; VLS ASROC; AN/SPS-67(V)3 surface search radar; two SRBOC six-barreled Mk 36 Mod 12 chaff and IR launchers; Northrop Grumman SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo decoy; possibly Raytheon AN/SLQ-32(V)3/SLY-2 ECM; probably the Raytheon AN/SQQ-89(V)6 combining an SQS-53C bow-mounted active search and attack sonar and an AN/SQR-19B passive towed array (low frequency); and one Sikorsky SH-60B/F LAMPS III helicopter.
Delivery of the first ship to the ROCN could occur by 2012.
The Republic of China Navy has apparently abandoned a plan to use modified US Perry-class guided missile frigates such as this one as its next class of destroyer.