Home Asia Pacific Taiwan sets up first minelayer squadron to shore up defense against China

Taiwan sets up first minelayer squadron to shore up defense against China

Taiwan Navy minelayer FMLB-2
Photo: Taiwan defense ministry

Taiwan has established its first minelayer squadron with the commissioning of its newest minelayers in a ceremony at Taiwan Navy’s Zuoying Base in Kaohsiung on January 14.

The ceremony was attended by Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, who said the commissioning of the first dedicated minelayer squadron marked “yet another step forward for Taiwan’s own defense industry.” She added that the new capability will further strengthen the island’s readiness and resilience “in the face of evolving threats.”

Taiwan’s defense ministry said the squadron would increase its asymmetric warfare capabilities, and strengthen the readiness and resilience of Taiwan’s armed forces.

The new boats will represent a step change in minelaying capability, as the navy previously relied on sending sailors on landing craft to lay mines manually. The slow and dangerous process will now be made more efficient with the new ships.

Local shipbuilder Lungteh Shipbuilding was responsible for building four ships in the class and launched the first unit in August 2020. According to previous reports, the minelayers have an estimated length of 41 meters and a displacement of 347 tons.

The initial batch of minelayers that was delivered by the end of 2021 will rely on an automatic mine laying system developed by Taiwan’s own Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology. They will also carry a T-75 20mm cannon, and 7.62mm machine guns.