Taiwan has said that it will build a new-generation 900t low-observable surface combatant warship, which will be specifically designed for battles in the Taiwan Straits.

The programme to develop a stealthy catamaran vessel, to be known as the Taiwan coastal patrol vessel, is in the research and design stage and no funding was allocated for a prototype, according to defencenews.com.

Taiwan Security Analysis Center director Fu S Mei said that navy officials want a basic design to create a family of twin-hulled or even tri-hulled multipurpose surface combatant applications of various displacements.

Sources at the Ministry of National Defence (MND) said the navy had a requirement for a 900t corvette to replace the aging fast-attack missile boats and the eight Knox Class frigates nearing retirement.

The 130ft-long coastal patrol vessel will accommodate a crew of 45 and have a top cruising speed of 30kt.

Armed with eight surface-to-surface Hsiung Feng III missiles, a Phalanx close-in weapons system for air defence and a 76mm bow gun, the ship could participate in anti-submarine warfare.

The Naval Shipbuilding Center in Kaohsiung will develop the Taiwan coastal patrol vessel as part of the Hsunhai programme.