Gov't to allocate NT$5.5 billion to buy US warships
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The military is scheduled to allocate NT$5.5 billion of defense spending to buy two Perry-class frigates from the United States next year, according to a defense budget plan prepared by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and sent to the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
August 31, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The total amount will be allocated across two fiscal years, with NT$170 million earmarked for fiscal year 2014 while the rest is set for fiscal year 2015, according to the MND budget plan, which is pending lawmaker approval at the upcoming legislative session to begin on Sept. 17.
The U.S. Congress has yet to pass legislation allowing the transfer of the two Perry-class frigates.
But local media reports said yesterday that the Navy is scheduled to send personnel to the U.S. next August in preparation for the transfer.
The scheduled purchase is part of the Taiwan armed forces' ongoing efforts to replace its aging fleet with newer forces.
Former Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) previously said in the Legislative Yuan in November, 2012 that the American frigates are expected to replace the aging Chi-Yang-class (濟陽級) or Knox-class frigates of the Republic of China Navy.
The Navy currently has eight U.S.-made Knox-class frigates that were built in the 1960s.
The eight Knox-class frigates were transferred to the Navy in the 1990s.
These frigates were later renamed the Chi-Yang class and assigned to the Navy's northeastern Yilan-based 168th Patrol Squadron.
Meanwhile, an MND report on the military's ongoing downsizing project was also sent to the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
The MND said Taiwan's armed forces personnel would be downsized to around 215,000 from the current 275,000 by the end of 2015.
To meet the goal, as of July this year the MND has already cut more than 30,000 military personnel, among them 16,800 are enlisted servicemen while the rest are officers, the report said.
The military is also expected to significantly downsize the number of its generals from the existing 379 to 268.