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Taiwan's first 'aircraft carrier killer' delivered

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's first stealthy missile corvette was christened Friday, a development that is expected to give the country's navy a capability to counter larger enemy warships.

The 500-ton Tuo River is the first of possibly 12 ships to be built locally under the Hsun Hai (Swift Sea) program.

The twin hull corvette, described as a “carrier-killer” by local media, has a maximum speed of 38 knots (70 kilometers per hour) and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. Its speed and low radar signature allows the corvette to get close to enemy targets, experts said.

The ship, 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters wide, carries a crew of 41. Its armaments include Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles.

The christening ceremony was held indoors in Suao, Yilan County and the ship will undergo final tests and reviews before it is officially launched. It is expected to be deployed in the first half of 2015.

In 2011, the Legislature approved a NT$24.98 billion (US$853.4 million) budget to fund the construction between seven and 11 corvettes but a fleet of 12 ships is now expected.

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Naval officers pose for a group photograph with Taiwan's first stealth missile corvette in Yilan, yesterday. The 500-ton Tuo River was christened yesterday and is the first of possibly 12 ships to be built locally under the Hsun Hai program. The twin-hull corvette, described as a “carrier-killer” by local media, has a maximum speed of 38 knots and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. (CNA)

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