TAIPEI, ($1=29.10 aiwan New Dollars) — According to a report in Taiwan News, Taiwan’s Deputy Defense Minister Alex Poe said that his country is considering acquiring LCS ships from those withdrawn by the US Navy, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing DefenceReview.
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The article did not specify whether Taiwan’s intention was for Freedom or Independence ships. The news came after MP Charles Chen was asked if the country intends to acquire withdrawing US ships in 2022 or continue with the decision on domestic shipbuilding. Alex Poe said Taiwan’s strategy is flexible so that the country can respond immediately to any threat, and domestic shipbuilding is a tough policy.
However, he said Taiwan was considering whether withdrawing from the LCS could help protect Taiwan. He did not ignore the fact that the US Navy was withdrawing them due to technical problems and high maintenance costs, but said that Taiwan appreciated them and that it was too early to give a definite answer as to whether they would be acquired or not.
The US Navy withdrew LCS-1 [Freedom class] and LCS-2 (Independence-class), while the withdrawal [in 2022] of LCS-3, LCS-7 and LCS-9 [Freedom class], and LCS-4 [Independence class] are also approved. In addition, in the draft defense budget for 2023, the US Navy has proposed the withdrawal of all nine LCS Freedom classes from an operation.
Tech- and fund problems
As we reported on April 4, the US Navy has scheduled nine Freedom ships for decommissioning in the fiscal year 2023, which begins in October of this year. This means a complete abandonment of this unsuccessful type of unit, and the funds saved are to be invested in the Constellation-type frigate program.
The Americans planned to acquire a total of 16 Littoral Combat Vessel Freedom-class ships manufactured by Lockheed Martin and the same number of Independence-class ships in the characteristic catamaran arrangement built by Austal shipyards. To date, a total of 10 of these units have been completed, of which the prototype Freedom has already been decommissioned. Now it looks like the US Navy will get rid of the remaining units as well.
However, LCSs are very young units. The latest was put into service in the summer of 2020. Moreover, the remaining six are at different stages of construction, including two at the stage of equipping. What will be their fate in connection with the plans to withdraw all types is difficult to say. The answer may be some kind of export via the EDA procedure.
The LCS-class ships were introduced at the beginning of the century and entered service in 2008. These units encountered numerous technical problems, and in addition, there was a shortage of funds for their task modules with weapons, as a result of which many of them never reached their full combat value and could not be used for non-patrol operations, although they were recently retrofitted with NSM anti-ship missiles.
Recently, attempts were made to find applications for the Freedom type by adding Raytheon towed sonars of the advanced AN / SQS-62 type. It turned out, however, that these towed devices are unstable when towed by a vessel of this type. The Freedom recall in 2023 and other old units of other types are expected to deliver $ 3.6 billion in savings.
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