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Taiwan govt to allocate US$138m to buy US warships
Publication Date : 31-08-2013
The Taiwanese military is scheduled to allocate NT$5.5 billion (US$138 million) of defence spending to buy two Perry-class frigates from the United States next year, according to a budget plan prepared by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) and sent to the Legislative Yuan on Friday.
The total amount will be allocated across two fiscal years, with NT$170 million (US$5.7 million) earmarked for fiscal year 2014, while the rest is set for fiscal year 2015, according to the MND budget plan, which is pending lawmakers' approval at the upcoming legislative session to begin on September 17.
The US Congress has yet to pass legislation allowing the transfer of the two Perry-class frigates. But Taiwanese media reports said on Friday that the navy is scheduled to send personnel to the US next August in preparation for the transfer.
The scheduled purchase is part of the Taiwan armed forces' ongoing efforts to replace its aging fleet with newer equipment.
Former Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu had previously said in the Legislative Yuan in November 2012 that the American frigates are expected to replace the aging Chi-Yang-class or Knox-class frigates of the Taiwanese navy.
The navy currently has eight US-made Knox-class frigates that were built in the 1960s.
These frigates were later renamed the Chi-Yang class after being transferred to the Taiwanese navy in 1990, and assigned to the navy's northeastern Yilan-based 168th Patrol Squadron.
Meanwhile, an MND report on the military's ongoing downsizing project was also sent to the Legislative Yuan on Friday.
The MND said Taiwan's armed forces personnel would be downsized to around 215,000 from the current 275,000 by the end of 2015.
To meet the goal, as of July this year the MND has already cut more than 30,000 military personnel, among them are 16,800 enlisted servicemen while the rest are officers, the report said.
The military is also expected to significantly downsize the number of its generals from the existing 379 to 268.