13 April 2010
Taiwan's high-tech 1,000 ton missile corvettes (photo : Militaryphotos)
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan has unveiled the first images of a high-tech missile corvette specifically designed to counter the threat of China acquiring an aircraft carrier, officials and media said April 12.
A computerized graphic of the 1,000-ton "carrier killer," which has so far been kept secret from the public, has gone on display at Taipei's military museum, run by the defense ministry.
The vessel will be capable of cruising at speeds of up to 34 miles (55 kilometers) per hour and boast technologies helping it to evade radar detection, the Taipei-based Apple Daily reported, citing military officials.
The Taiwanese Navy hopes to arm the corvette with Taiwan's home-grown Hsiungfeng III supersonic ship-to-ship missile, according to the report.
The military museum did not provide any details, while the defense ministry declined to comment on the report.
The report came after the head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau, Tsai Teh-sheng, told parliament in November that China has started building its first aircraft carrier.
Taiwanese military analysts expect China to need at least 10 years to build its first operating carrier group complete with carrier-based fighters and other warships.
But they warn that once the Chinese arms build-up is completed, it will have a far-reaching strategic impact on the region.
Ties between China and Taiwan have improved markedly since China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became the island's president in 2008, vowing to adopt a non-confrontational policy toward the mainland. But China still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.