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Taiwan Navy frigate Chen De to be armed with Hua Yang VLS.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Liberty Times on December 27, 2023, the Taiwanese Navy is currently enhancing the capabilities of its first Kang Ding-class frigate under a comprehensive upgrade program.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Taiwanese Kang Ding class frigate Chen De. (Picture source: Wikipedia)

Netizens have captured images of the frigate Chengde with its weapons and radar systems almost entirely dismantled. A military spokesperson revealed that Chen De is the test ship for the 'Combat System Performance Enhancement' project and is scheduled to be equipped with the 'Hua Yang' Vertical Launch System (VLS) and 32 Hai Jian II anti-air missiles produced by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology next year.

Chengde serves as the test ship for the 'Combat System Performance Enhancement' project of six Kang Ding-class frigates, with a three-year evaluation and validation period.

After successful validation and meeting the operational needs of the navy, the remaining five ships will undergo similar upgrades, with the entire project expected to be completed in nine years, by 2030. Initially, both frigates Chengde and Xining were considered for this project, but Chengde was ultimately chosen as the test vessel.

The latest photos show that the 76-gun (A position), air radar in the midsection, and Hsiung Feng series anti-ship missile launchers, as well as the Phalanx CIWS on the stern hangar of Chengde, have all been removed, leaving only the navigation radar in the midsection.

The Taiwanese Navy currently operates six Lafayette-class frigates. The first ship arrived in Taiwan from France in 1996 and has been in service for 27 years. As the systems no longer meet the current operational needs amidst threats in the Taiwan Strait, the navy has been progressively upgrading and enhancing various systems.

Among these, the communication and steering enhancement project for six ships has already been completed on four, with the remaining two expected to be finished by the end of the month.

Regarding the 'Combat System Performance Enhancement' project, the plan is to replace the frigates' outdated combat systems, radars, and anti-air missiles. The 'Hua Yang' Vertical Launch System will be installed below the deck at the bow of the ship. The entire project is expected to be completed in stages over nine years.

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