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Sunday, November 26, 2006

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MoD wants submarines, says China will have CVs

Foreign defense experts are entirely convinced that the most important weapon Taiwan can purchase in the current arms package is submarines. However, at the moment, the submarines offered by the US are three times the world price. So it's a hard sell, which was why the Chen Administration was out yesterday attempting to get the public to accept the sub purchase....

Taiwan must upgrade and expand its submarine warfare capabilities if it is to prevent China, which will have its first aircraft carrier battle group by 2020, from surrounding the island from the east with its blue-water navy in the future, a high-ranking defense official said.

Chen Yung-kang (陳永康), director of the Ministry of Defense's Integrated Assessment Office, said the group would consist of 11 warships, with the recently acquired Varyag aircraft carrier and a Kiev-class helicopter carrier -- both Soviet-era vessels -- serving as its centerpiece.

Seven surface ships and two nuclear attack submarines will make up the remaining nine vessels, Chen said.

The Varyag is discussed in detail here. Globalsecurity has a very useful page on Chinese carriers. It is farfetched to imagine that a rebuilt 1980s-era carrier will ever form the core of a Chinese Navy battlegroup in 2020, but the Chinese may simply use it to gain experience for the development of later carriers.

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