TAIPEI, -- The ROC Navy (Republic of China - Taiwan) has ordered three air defense catamaran corvettes based on the existing Tuo River-class. It is rumored the corvettes are expected to be fitted with Mk 41 VLS for a new naval variant of the Sky Bow III (Tien Kung III) surface to air missiles. It remains to be seen however if such large missiles can fit on a small platform like this catamaran corvette. Same thing goes for long range radar sensors.
Other weapon system should include Sky Sword II (Tien Chen II) possily quad-packed in the VLS in a similar fashion to ESSM. Finally, the new air defense catamarans should be fitted with the Sea Oryx RAM-like weapon system which was unveiled last year, and which is set to be fitted on the Tuo River-class.
The Tuo River vessel project was first unveiled during TADTE 2013, the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition, in August 2013. The corvette was built by the Lung-De Shipbuilding Corporation under the "Swift Sea" program.
With a length of 60.4 meters this corvette size vessel is designed for littoral operations. A sign on display at the show indicated:
"In order to face the increasing threat across the Taiwan Strait, ROC Navy has developed a new type of Littoral Combat Ship, High Efficiency Wave Piercing Catamaran (WPC). This ship design increases ship mobility, and provides for greater stealth technology, larger capacity, and better adaptability to environmental conditions.
This new class of ships is designed by Naval Shipbuilding Development Center (NSDC) and Ship Ocean Industries R&D Center (SOIC). The High Efficiency Wave Piercing Catamaran (WPC) is currently under construction by the Lund-De Shipbuilding Corporation."
This Taiwanese "Littoral Combat Ship" is heavily armed for its size as it is fitted with no less than 16 anti-ship missiles. Representatives at the show said the catamaran corvette may fire both Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III missiles making it a potent ASUW platform. HF-3 missile is expected to have a range of 130 kilometers and is reported to be capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2 while the older generation HF-2 missile has a range of 160 kilometers and reach subsonic speeds.
In addition to anti-ship missiles, the corvette is fitted with a 76mm main gun, 4x 12.7mm machine guns and a CIWS. There is no helicopter hangar; however the deck may accommodate a medium size helicopter (10 tons class). Propulsion is achieved through 4 waterjets.
The Republic of China Navy PGG 618 "Tuojiang" River-Class Littoral Corvette.