Pair of new Navy minehunters make debut as part of exercise
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Two refurbished Osprey-class mine clearance ships that Taiwan acquired from the United States last year made their public debut at a southern military port yesterday as the Navy held an anti-submarine drill to test its combat readiness.
January 23, 2013, 11:48 pm TWN
The two retrofitted U.S.-made coastal minehunters, originally known as the USS Oriole and USS Falcon, joined other military vessels for the exercise, which was open to the media, and held in Zuoying Military Harbor in southern city of Kaohsiung.
The exercise simulated an emergency in which the Navy dispatched vessels, including Kuang Hua VI fast attack missile boats, Cheng Kung-class and Kang Ding-class frigates to counter a potential submarine attack by enemy forces.
Taiwan received the two minehunters last August, significantly boosting the nation's mine-hunting capabilities.
The two vessels are part of a US$6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan that U.S. President Barack Obama approved in 2010.
During yesterday's drill, the Navy fleet was dispatched in response to a simulated invasion to the southern harbor.
A Navy Grumman S-2T Turbo Tracker anti-submarine aircraft was then sent to locate the enemy submarine, followed by an anti-submarine S-70C helicopter that was sent out to deploy sonar buoys to confirm the location of the intruding underwater vessel.
The submarine was finally pushed to the surface after the S-70C launched a simulated torpedo, concluding the drill.
Naval officials said the exercise was held to test the military's efforts to stay alert and remain combat-ready ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year long break in February.
Another highlight of yesterday's exercise was woman Navy officer Wen Hui-ting (溫惠婷) aboard one of the Kang Ding-class frigates. Wen is responsible for commanding a Tavitac 2000 combat management system used in the vessel.