Overview of Taiwanese Navy Warships

Overview of Taiwanese Navy Warships

Show Video

Hello everyone. Today we are looking at the naval  forces of Taiwan, also known as the Republic of   China Navy, or the ROCN for short. Previously,  we have covered the geopolitical issues   around the Taiwan Strait, but this video will look  at naval technology and the main surface units   and submarines of the Taiwanese Navy. In  the past, the ROCN was simply known as  

the Chinese Navy, particularly in the domestic  circles, but now this reference had been dropped   to avoid confusing the service with the People's  Liberation Army Navy of the People's Republic of   China. Incidentally, I have spent  about five years of my childhood   close to the island's largest naval base, which  is located in the southern city of Kaohsiung,   in the Zuoying district. This is where most of  the ROCN's largest surface combatants were based.   Today, I have to admit that the ROCN is basically  a shell of its former self, having been eclipsed   by the PLA Navy in basically every single  way, both quantity and quality. But still,   there is obviously a lot of interest both around  the Mainland and overseas military watchers.   So, without further ado, let's take  a look at the naval forces of Taiwan.  

Most of the weapons and technology in the ROCN  are western, particularly American, for example   the standard missiles, the phalanx CIWS, the decoy  launchers, and the Italian Oto Melara naval gun.   But there are a few pieces of important indigenous  naval technology that I want to talk about.   I want to focus on two of these. They are the Sky  Bow surface-to-air missiles and the Hsiung-Feng  

anti-ship missiles. The Sky Bow is a  series of long range air defense missiles.   There are three variants and currently the Sky Bow  2 and the Sky Bow 3 are in service. Both of these   uses an active radar seeker to track down the  targets during the terminal phase. The Sky Bow 2   is known to be more of an anti-aircraft weapon,  with limited missile interception capability. It   is basically a ground-based weapon at present. The  Sky bow 3 is upgraded to be much more effective at  

missile interception, including the interception  of cruise missiles and also some anti-ballistic   missile capability. The Sky Bow 3 also increased  its range from the Sky Bow 2 from 150 kilometers   to 200 kilometers. The ROCN will deploy the  Sky Bow 3 in its new surface combatants,   as well as some existing vessels. The Hsiung-Feng  is a series of long-range anti-ship missiles.   They are a standard issue to most ROCN warships  and even some coast guard ships. Currently, two   variants are in service: they are the Hsiung-Feng  2 and the Hsiung-Feng 3. The Hsiung-Feng 2 is high   subsonic, while the Hsiung-Feng 3 is supersonic.  As we shall see, the ROCN places a lot of hope on  

these weapons to inflict considerable damage on  the PLA Navy in the event of an attack. First up,   we have four of the Keelung class destroyers, the  ROCN's largest surface combatants at 9800 tons.   They were originally built for the  Shah of Iran in the late 1970s, but   following the Iranian Revolution they were put  into service with the US Navy. They were sold to   Taiwan in 2001, so they were pretty old warships  already by the time they were acquired by Taiwan.  

They are designed primarily for air defense,  relying chiefly on their standard missile 2, a   medium-range SAM of American origin. However, they  are not AEGIS air defense warships. Their main   problem is that their technology was good at the  time they were built, but by this point they are   very much outdated. For example, they still rely  on a pair of the old Mark 26 missile launchers,   instead of the more modern vertical launching  system. This system of missile launches severely   limits the field of fire compared to a VLS.  The search radars are also very much obsolete   for an air defense destroyer, having been  replaced a long time ago on US Navy destroyers   by the AN/SPY-1 radar. That said, they are still  the largest and most capable units in the ROCN.  

Next we move onto the frigates. First up, we  have the Kang Ding class. They were purchased   from France, based on the revolutionary French  La Fayette class design. The La Fayette class   is the world's first purpose-designed stealth  warship. The Kang Ding class were commissioned   in the late 1990s into the ROCN. There were a huge  amount of controversy surrounding the purchase   of the Kang Ding class. In 1998, a massive  scandal broke out surrounding the purchase,   which involved around 500 million dollars of  bribes paid to both French and ROCN officials,   to get the deal through. Several whistleblowers  who had the courage to tell the truth died under  

suspicious circumstances, basically assassinated I  think to keep their mouth shut. The main culprit,   a Taiwanese arms dealer, fled to the UK with  a huge sum of ill-gotten financial assets.   Anyway, back on topic. The Kang Ding class is  intended primarily for anti-submarine warfare.   They do have some anti-surface capabilities  with the Hsiung-Feng 2 anti-ship missiles.  

Their air defense capabilities are very limited  currently, but they are being upgraded with the   Sky Bow 3 surface-to-air missiles. The Taiwanese  Navy also possesses a fleet of 8 Oliver Hazard   Perry class frigates, built under license from  the United States. They are known domestically   as the Cheng Kung class. The original Oliver  Hazard Perry class frigate was built for the US   Navy with the purpose of anti-submarine warfare in  mind, but the Taiwanese version was built mainly   for area air defense at a medium range, so it  has substantial modifications from the original   design. The Taiwanese version uses the standard  missile 1 mounted on a single overarm missile   launcher. However, the Taiwanese Navy recognizes  the limitations of the overarm missile launcher,   and the guidance system of the standard missile  1, which still relies on semi-active radar homing.  

So, there are plans to upgrade the Cheng Kung  class to the Sky Bow 3 surface-to-air missiles,   which will be housed inside vertical launch cells.  That said, these are fundamentally multi-role   frigates. They have two Seahawk helicopters for  anti-submarine warfare, and they are armed with a   mixture of the Hsiung-Feng 2 and the Hsiung-Feng  3 for anti-surface action. But, overall the  

technology associated with the Cheng Kung class  is very old, and the survivability of the vessel   against the overwhelming firepower of the PLA  Navy is no doubt very low, due in part to a lack   of stealth capability. By the way, if you enjoyed  our video so far, please press the 'like' button.   The Republic of China Navy also fields about six  of the Chi Yang class frigates. They are basically   former US Navy Knox class anti-submarine escorts  purchased from the United States. They were built   in the early 1970s. These are basically outdated  and essentially obsolete anti-submarine warships.   They have weak air defense and they have no  substantial anti-surface capabilities to speak of.  

So, judging by all modern standards, these are  basically no longer considered a real warship and   are at best just a patrol ship intended for low  intensity duties. The Chi Yang class are being   slowly phased out. One area the Taiwanese Navy is  sorely lacking is underwater warfare. The ROCN has   only two modern submarines at present. The most  capable class is the so-called Sea Dragon class.  

They are purchased from Holland and are based  on a Dutch submarine design from the 1970s,   which is itself based on the US Barbel class  from the 1960s. Taiwan originally wanted to buy   more of these submarines from Holland, but the  Dutch government refused to sell more following   diplomatic protests from Mainland China. The Sea  Dragon class is essentially a basic diesel boat.   It has a teardrop hull to improve hydrodynamics  and some basic noise reduction features, like   shock absorbers for the engines. The submarine  uses both torpedoes and the submarine-launched   version of the harpoon anti-ship missiles.  Overall, the Sea Dragon class is probably   of a decent capability, but they are too  few in numbers to really challenge the PLA   Navy's submarine forces. Taiwan also has the  dubious honour of possessing the world's oldest   active submarines. The ROCN maintains two of the  old US Tench class submarines first built in World  

War Two. The two boats in Taiwanese service  were literally built during World War Two,   and actually saw action against Imperial Japan in  the later stages of the war. They were transferred   from the US Navy to the ROCN in the 1970s.  The two Tench class submarines are used   exclusively for training purposes, to prepare  sailors to serve on more modern submarines.   But, according to the Taiwanese military, both  of these boats are supposedly still combat-ready,   despite being almost 80 years old. They are  expected to remain in service until 2026.   Taiwan is also building eight new indigenously  designed submarines to replace its current fleet   of aging submarines. They will be conventionally  powered diesel boats of around two and a half  

thousand tons. A team of Japanese engineers  from Mitsubishi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries   are believed to have provided technical support.  Taiwan's indigenous submarines will incorporate   certain features found on Japanese diesel boats,  for example the x-form rudder and possibly   lithium-ion batteries. The first boat is expected  to be launched in September 2023 and possibly   commissioned in 2025. If there is enough interest  in the Taiwanese indigenous submarine program,   I'm happy to do a separate dedicated video  looking into this topic. Taiwan maintains a fleet   of missile attack corvettes and fast missile  boats. We have here the Jing Jiang class corvette.  

They are a coastal patrol ship intended solely  for the surface attack role. To do this,   they are armed with the supersonic Hsiung-Feng  3 anti-ship missiles. But their main weakness is   that they have no defensive armament and, more  importantly, they have no stealth capabilities   and are easy to spot. So the combination of  a lack of air defense and stealth features   means that their survivability in combat is  very low. Their main mission in the event of war  

with Mainland China is to throw themselves against  the PLA Navy, hoping to inflict as much damage   as possible before going down. The Tuo Jiang  class is a new type of missile attack corvette.   Only a few of these are available because they  are still under construction. All of the corvettes   and smaller warships are built domestically. Only  the larger warships are purchased second-hand   from overseas. The main improvements of the Tuo  Jiang class is in terms of stealth capabilities.  

It has stealthy angular surfaces to reduce the  radar cross-section. The big idea behind this   class is to engage in a form of hit-and-run  tactics against the PLA Navy. The corvettes   can come in, launch all of its missile payload  against the opponent, and get out in one piece   by remaining hidden to enemy radar. The ship  can then return to port and reload its missiles  

in preparation for another attack. The Tuo Jiang  class corvette also features a catamaran hull   design which provides a high degree of stability  in the often rough waters of the Taiwan Strait.   The Taiwanese Navy also maintains a swarm of  fast missile boats. There are about 30 of these.   They are called the Kuang-Hua 6 missile boat. Like  the larger missile attack corvettes, they are used   mainly in an anti-shipping role. They basically  employ the same principle as the Tuo Jiang class  

stealth corvette. They will basically engage in  the same form of hit-and-run tactics. They are   supposed to come in, launch all of their missiles  against the PLA Navy warships, and then get out   in one piece by remaining hidden to the enemy's  radar. However, the Kuang-Hua 6 does not carry any   search radars. It only has a navigation radar. The  lack of a search radar was done in order to reduce   the construction cost, so that these ships can be  built in large numbers. The Kuang-Hua 6 missile   boat therefore relies on the targeting data  provided by the radars of other assets, whether   they be friendly warships or aircraft. Taiwan  has a sizeable fleet of amphibious warfare ships,   but most of these are quite old, because they  are purchased second-hand from the United States.  

However, since 2016, Taiwan has been developing  an indigenous landing platform dock, or LPD for   short. They are called Yushan class, named after  the highest mountain in Taiwan. Four ships in   the class are planned and one has been launched  already in April 2021. The Yushan LPD is about   10,600 tons in displacement. They are unusually  well-armed for an LPD, with their own CIWS and   missiles. The type of missile on the Yushan is  not confirmed as of yet, but they are likely to be   surface-to-air missiles of some sort. The design  is heavily influenced by the US Navy's San Antonio   class LPD. The Yushan can carry around 700 marine  landing troops, including their amphibious armored  

personnel carriers. The primary mission of this  class of LPD is to reinforce and resupply Republic   of China holdings in the South China Sea and off  the coast of the Chinese Mainland. That said,   my personal opinion is more pessimistic. I don't  think it is worth building. The Yushan LPD might  

be large and impressive from the outside, but  this is not something that Taiwan really needs.   Essentially, it will be completely useless for  resisting the PLA Navy in the event of conflict   with Mainland China. I mean, what do they  plan to do with this thing? Are they going   to invade the Mainland? Really? I think Taiwan's  limited resources are far better spent on small   missile boats and submarines, which are far more  survivable and better serve asymmetric warfare   purposes. The Republic of China Navy currently  maintains around half a dozen amphibious warships.  

All of them are very old. They are either World  War Two or early Cold War former US Navy ships.   Most of them are small tank landing ships.  There is also a single large dock landing ship,   the ex-American Anchorage class. Their purpose  is essentially the same as the Yushan LPD,   which is to support the island holdings of the  Republic of China by reinforcing and resupplying   these islands. These old and mostly small  amphibious warfare ships will be gradually  

replaced by the Yushan LPD. To conclude, I am  going to draw some high-level observations.   Firstly, the Republic of China Navy is no match  for the PLA Navy. It is inferior in all respect,   including air warfare, anti-surface warfare and  in terms of submarines. The Taiwanese Navy is  

behind in both quantity and quality, and perhaps  even more so in terms of quality. I have to say,   though, the Taiwanese Navy is more than a match  for any Southeast Asian country's naval forces.   They are more than sufficient to defend the  disputed islands in the South China Sea,   at least those that are held currently by the  ROC. Another obvious point is that the second-hand   ships purchased from the United States are wholly  unsuitable for Taiwan's needs. They are old,   and they are basically obsolete technologically,  and they stick out on Chinese radars like a sore   thumb. These former US Navy ships are designed  for a head-on battle, which Taiwan cannot win.  

If war breaks out with Mainland China, these  second-hand ships would not stand a chance.   The smaller ships designed and built in Taiwan  are far more suitable for the needs of the ROCN.   These warships, and submarines in the near  future, are far more suitable for asymmetric   warfare. They have a low profile, are much  more survivable, and are cheaper to build.  

They basically trade off blue-water capabilities  for greater effectiveness in coastal defense.   Except for the Yushan LPD that is. I think that  is still a terrible choice for Taiwan to build!

2022-08-15 19:06

Show Video

Other news