Surface Forces: April 9, 2002


Taiwan expects to receive the first two of the four Kidd-class destroyers from the US by 2005. The Kidd class are modified Spruance-class destroyers with improved weaponry. They were originally ordered by the Shah of Iran, who planned to call them cruisers. When the Shah fell and Reagan became President, Congress bought the ships to improve the Navy, which had deteriorated under Carter. Some in Taiwan do not want the Kidds, regarding them as too large and expensive. The problem is that Taiwan wants Aegis destroyers to protect its forces from Chinese missiles, and the critics there don't want to waste the manpower and operating budget on large ships that do not have Aegis. The US says it will not sell Aegis to Taiwan until the Taiwanese Navy proves it can operate ships as big and complex as the Kidds. Some Taiwanese admirals say that the Kidds are needed for their surface combat power to counter the Chinese purchase of Russian-built Sovremennys.--Stephen V Cole


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