China: February 14, 2001


Taiwan may bid for the four Kidd-class destroyers of the "Ayatollah-class". These were US Navy ships, advanced multi-role destroyers originally ordered by the Shah of Iran and bought for the US Navy at the start of the Reagan defense buildup in 1981. They were retired by the Clinton Administration in 1998, after serving only half of their service lives, during the massive defense cuts. The US tried to sell the ships to Greece and Australia, but the price was too high. Taiwan wanted aegis destroyers, and might eventually want to rebuild the large destroyers with a similar radar. They would be the most powerful warships in Chinese waters.--Stephen V Cole


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