Taiwan will consider purchasing soon-to-be-retired U.S. Navy Littoral combat ships (LCS), Vice Defense Minister Alex Po said. Ministry of National Defense (MND) will evaluate whether the American ships will help bolster Taiwan’s defense, CNA reported.
Lee Shi-chiang, the chief of the defense ministry’s wartime regulations bureau, emphasized that these LCSs are being decommissioned because even the US can no longer afford their cost of maintenance. The MND continues to evaluate these ships but is yet to definitively announce whether or not it plans to purchase any, he added.
The littoral combat ship (LCS) is a set of two classes of relatively small surface vessels designed for operations near shore by the United States Navy. It was «envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals." Littoral combat ships are comparable to corvettes found in other navies. The Freedom class and the Independence-class are the first two LCS variants.
The Freedom-class is one of two classes of the littoral combat ship program, built for the United States Navy. The ship is a semi-planing steel monohull with an aluminum superstructure. It is 377 ft (115 m) in length, displaces 3,500 metric tons (3,400 long tons), and can achieve 47 knots (87 km/h; 54 mph). The design incorporates a large, reconfigurable sea frame to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with an integrated helicopter launch, recovery, and handling system, and the capability to launch and recover boats (manned and unmanned) from both the stern and side.
The Independence-class is a class of littoral combat ships built for the United States Navy. The hull design evolved from a project at Austal to the design of a high-speed, 40-knot cruise ship. The ships are 127.4 m (418 ft) long, with a beam of 31.6 m (104 ft), and a draft of 13 ft (3.96 m). Their displacement is rated at 2,377 tons light, 3,228 tons full, and 851 tons deadweight. The standard ship's company is 40, although this can increase depending on the ship's role with mission-specific personnel.