|Former USS Gary (Image: Wiki Commons)|
By: Mike Yeo
MELBOURNE, Australia — Two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates reserved for Taiwan were handed over last week; however, analysts say Taiwan needs to put into place an ambitious plan to boost its naval capabilities against China’s increasingly powerful forces.
According to a report in the Taipei Times, the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates Gary and Taylor were signed over to Taiwan on March 9 at a ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina.
The two ships were reactivated in Charleston by VSE Corporation. Following the handover, they are scheduled to enter service with Taiwan’s Republic of China Navy, or RoCN, by the end of May. Taiwan had initially requested four decommissioned Perry-class frigates, which the Obama administration approved in late 2014, but the East Asian island nation eventually settled on only two for an estimated cost of $177 million.
According to Michal Thim, a Taiwan defense specialist with the Prague-based Association for International Affairs, the reactivated frigates are being earmarked to replace some of the six Knox-class frigates that serve in the anti-submarine role.
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