Electronic Weapons: Kidds Get Their Sight Back


May 21, 2009: Taiwan has been allowed to buy $12.1 million worth of spare parts (from U.S. suppliers) for the radar systems on the four Kidd class destroyers, that they bought six years ago. Many Taiwanese politicians and businessmen want Taiwan to produce these components, which contain no classified information (they are 1970s technology), themselves. The U.S. won't allow this, for fear of angering China.

Displacing 9,700 tons and with a length of 563 feet, the Kidd class destroyers are armed with two SM2 MR surface-to-air missile launchers, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, ASROC anti-submarine missiles, Mk46 anti-submarine weapons, two 5 inch naval guns, two 20mm Phalanx anti-missile guns, and a flight deck for up to two helicopters.

The Kidd class were originally ordered by Iran in the late 1970s. But while still under construction, there was an Iranian revolution, which lead to the current religious dictatorship (the Islamic Republic). That got the orders canceled. The U.S. Navy acquired these ships, leading to their nickname 'the Ayatollah Class'. These destroyers are actually cruisers, in terms of size and weapons and equipment carried. Like the following Ticonderoga Class AEGIS cruisers, the Kidds were built on a modified Spruance hull, and the class was originally designed for the littoral conditions of the Persian Gulf. While the Kidds lack the VLS missile systems of most recently modified Spruance class ships, they were outfitted with better anti-aircraft capabilities. This was what appealed to the Taiwanese, who face Chinese ships and aircraft in the Taiwan Straits.



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