The system aboard Kaohsiung looks like a new, modular and stand alone variant of Sea Oryx. It seems to be a modular / container variant which likely comes with its own sensor and control unit. This means the system doesn’t need to be integrated on a ship’s CIC and CMS.
This has two advantages:
- – In case of damage to the CIC, the Sea Oryx system can remain operational.
- – The module can be placed aboard a ship is is not fitted with complex sensors and CMS.
Earlier in June 2021, Kaohsiung was spotted being fitted with an integrated variant of the Sea Oryx system.
Naval News contacted NCSIST to learn more but has yet to hear back from the corporation which designed the system.
Test ship Kaohsiung
ROCS Kaohsiung is the former USS Dukes County, an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was decommissioned and leased to the ROC Navy in 1957.
She has been a part of ROC Navy’s amphibious forces since leased to Taiwan, but was chosen by NCSIST in 2017 as the platform for testing new weapon systems. Various systems such as AESA radar, IFF, VLS has been spotted aboard Kaohsiung from 2017 to 2019.
About Sea Oryx system
In August 2015, Storm Media quoted an anonymous source as saying that the then commander of the ROC Navy, Admiral Chen Yeong-kang (陳永康), had asked NCSIST to develop a close in weapon system (CIWS), later known as Sea Oryx, to meet the future needs of the Taiwanese Navy.
NCSIST displayed a conceptual model of Sea Oryx at TADTE 2015 (Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition). Sea Oryx’s capabilities are said to be similar to those of the American SeaRAM system. The model showed a capacity of 16 missiles and was fitted on a U.S.-made Mk-72 pedestal, with a FLIR sensor developed by NCSIST on the left side of the launcher.
Two years later at TADTE 2017, NCSIST exhibited a new model of the Sea Oryx. The missile shown at the 2017 event had a larger diameter to carry more fuel and increase its range, and it had eight smaller fixed tail fins, which is different from the model shown in 2015 with four rolling tail fins. According to statements made by NCSIST during TADTE 2017, the system can be equipped with an optional fire control radar and electro-optical sensor, but can also acquire targeting information from the warship’s onboard radar. The model displayed at TADTE 2017 had a capacity of 12 missiles.
NCSIST also released a video on its official YouTube channel introducing the Sea Oryx system in August 2017. The video showcases the missile system with a 16-cell launcher unit integrated into the ship’s combat management system. In August 2019, NCSIST shared another video on YouTube. In the video, the two variants were referred to as the standalone version and the combat system-integrated version. The former variant has its own radar and a capacity of 12 missiles, while the latter has been integrated into a warship’s combat management system and has a capacity of 24 missiles.
According to a LTN report in April 2019, the Taiwanese ministry of defense submitted a report to the parliament, and wrote that Sea Oryx is still under development and more then 5 years is needed to complete the project and fully deploy the system. The ROC Navy will evaluate whether or not the system have met the required objectives set out by the navy.