To support offshore defense and related operations for the nation of Taiwan, the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) commissioned an all-new class of corvette-sized patrol ships under the Ching Chiang-class name during the 1990s. Twelve ships of the group were procured in all with the lot built locally by the skilled shipbuilders of CSBC Corporation. Of the dozen ships completed, eleven remain in active service as of this writing (2021) with lead-ship RoCN Ching Chiang having been retired in February of 2021.
Construction of the class ran from 1994 until 2000 and commissioned service has been ongoing since 1994.
The ships displace 580 tons under load and have a length of 201.4 feet, a beam measuring 31.1 feet, and a draught down to 9.5 feet. In particular the last quality (draught / height) gives the warships an inherent tactical ability to operate close-to-shore where other larger warships cannot. The conventional powerplant/propulsion scheme allows the ships to make headway at 25 knots.
Aboard is a crew typically numbering 50 personnel.
The warships are modestly-sized and their post-Cold War era roots clearly show through: there are many protrusions apparent throughout their design including exposed mast works, spans of railing, and gaps throughout the upper superstructure (quite uncommon in today's stealth-centric designs). Their arrangement is fairly traditional with the traversable deck gun seated over the forecastle followed by the elevated bridge section, low-profile smoke funnels amidships, and aft superstructure section. Crossed missile launchers are positioned at the stern.
These warships do not (and cannot) support rotary-wing elements.
The complete weapons set originally included 1 x 20mm automatic cannon, 1 x 40mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun, and 1 x HF-1 Anti-Ship Missile (ASM) launcher ("Hsiung Feng I"). However, a 2012 refit saw the ASM systems (on only some vessels) succeeded by 4 x HF-3 ASM units (the aforementioned stern emplacements). The original 40mm AA gun has also been replaced by the Italian 76mm OTO-Melara weapon system offering a much heftier ranged punch.
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