Taiwan will purchase two Oliver Hazard Perry-Class frigates from the United States in 2014, as part of its efforts to revive its aging fleet, a defense official confirmed Monday.
Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said the decommissioned frigates will be purchased with key onboard equipment such as the SQR-19 Towed Array Sonar system, which allows long-range passive detection of enemy submarines.
"This (the equipment) is necessary," Kao said at a hearing in the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Kao was responding to questions by Legislator Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang on the issue of buying the two frigates from the U.S. in 2014 at a cost of more than NT$7 billion (US$239.36 million).
Lin also asked about the progress of a project to replace the engine blades on Taiwan's fleet of Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft.
Kao said the work is in progress and will be completed by the end of 2013.
Asked whether the problem with the engine blades was related to the Mirage fighter jet crash in France last month that killed a Taiwanese pilot, Kao said the cause of that accident is still under investigation.
Kao said he has asked the Air Force to obtain information on Mirage fighter crashes throughout the world over the past five years to help investigate the death of Col. Wang Tung-yi, who died in the crash in France during a training mission.