Taiwan launches new missile-capable coastguard vessel

The Taiwan Coast Guard Administration’s (CGA’s) first 600-tonne catamaran-hull patrol vessel, Anping (CG601).

The Taiwan Coast Guard Administration’s (CGA’s) first 600-tonne catamaran-hull patrol vessel, Anping (CG601), was launched at shipbuilder Lung Teh’s shipyard in the southern port city of Kaohsiung on 27 April. The vessel is the lead ship of a class of 12 high-speed catamaran patrol vessels for the CGA.

The Anping is essentially a coastguard version of the Tuojiang-class stealth missile corvette in service with the Republic of China Navy (RoCN), which is armed with the high-subsonic Hsiung Feng II (HF-II) and supersonic Hsiung Feng III (HF-III) anti-ship missiles (ASMs) and known as Taiwan’s ‘carrier killer’ ship. The RoCN also plans to operate 12 of these vessels.

The coastguard variant will typically be armed with a high-pressure water cannon in place of the Tuojiang’s 76 mm Oto Melara main gun, the Zhenhai multiple rocket launcher system, and two 20 mm auxiliary guns during peacetime operations.

Modifications to the coastguard variant also includes further hull and structural strengthening for anticipated physical impacts at sea, as well as improved berthing spaces and navigation systems intended to mitigate crew fatigue during extended patrols.

However, in wartime the vessel can be pressed into military service and be equipped with a mix of up to eight HF-II and eight HF-III ASMs, complementing the RoCN’s nascent fleet of Tuojiang missile corvettes. The RoCN will be responsible for the installation of the ASM systems, as well as providing trained crew to operate the weapons following conversion to a surface combatant.

Fitting out and performance testing of Anping is expected to be completed in the months following its launch and enter service with the CGA by October, which plans to deploy the vessel to bolster fishery protection in Taiwan’s southern waters.

CGA vessels often encounter belligerent Chinese fishing activity, with two of its patrol cutters swarmed and attacked by more than 10 Chinese speedboats in the Taiwan Strait on 16 March, resulting in one of the cutters being rammed repeatedly and suffering major damage to its outboard motors.

by Jr Ng