Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) The Navy on Monday retired the ROCS Ching Chiang, the first of Taiwan's 12 locally designed guided-missile corvettes that has defended the country's territorial waters for more than two decades.
According to a report from Taiwan's Military News Agency, the decommissioning ceremony was held at Hsin Pin naval station in Kaohsiung, presided over by Tseng An-kuo, commandant of the Navy's 131 fleet, to which the vessel was attached.
Present and former captains of the corvette, along with its personnel, attended the event to bid farewell to the ship, according to the report.
In his remarks, Tseng praised the ship for its service since it was commissioned in 1994 and thanked its crew for carrying out military exercises and rescue missions.
According to Navy records, the Ching Chiang was the first of 12 Ching Chiang-class patrol ships, which were all designed and manufactured locally.
The ships have a displacement of 500 tonnes and are equipped with various armaments, including the Hsiung Feng II and III anti-ship missile. The last ship of its class, the Chu Chiang, was commissioned in July 2000.
Meanwhile, military sources told CNA that the Navy is planning to replace the ageing patrol ships one by one with their successors, the Tuo Chiang-class stealth multi-mission corvettes.
A prototype of the Tuo Chiang-class corvettes was put into service in December 2014.
Meanwhile, the second ship of that class, the Ta Chiang, was launched in November 2020 and is currently being fitted out.
The Navy is hoping to obtain another five Tuo Chiang-class corvettes before 2023.
According to the Navy, the upgraded vessels have a maximum speed of 30 knots, a displacement of 685 tonnes and an operational range of 1,800 nautical miles.
They have been dubbed by Taiwan's military as "aircraft-carrier killers," as their arsenal includes the Hsiung Feng II and III anti-ship missiles, as well as a 76 mm cannon and Sea Sword II missiles.