Fri, Oct 10, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Missile could strike at the heart of China

HITTING BACK A defense report presented to the legislature calls for the development of a missile capable of hitting military bases deep inside China

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The military plans to build a missile capable of striking deep inside China, according to a Ministry of National Defense report presented to the legislature yesterday.

The long-distance strike capability is aimed at disabling military hardware in China that could be used in an attack on Taiwan, the ministry says in its 2004 to 2008 arms-buildup report.

The report does not specify what kinds of weapons are needed for long-distance strike capabilities, but it is obvious that they refer to ballistic missiles and cruise missiles now under development.

The Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology has been secretly developing several different kinds of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles for some years, defense sources said. Some of these missiles were said to have been produced in small quantities and have been in service for several years.

The Hsiung Feng-IIE cruise missile, which was developed on the basis of the Hsiung Feng-II anti-ship missile, has already passed the 1,000km mark in flight tests, sources said.

The missile, should it become operational, would pose a threat to virtually all of China's vital military assets along its southeast coast and some further inland.

The institute has also made progress in the development of ballistic missiles, which are based the Tien Kung-II air-defense missile. One of these ballistic missiles under development was said to have a range of 300km.

The military plans to set up an independent missile command to coordinate and integrate its various kinds of missiles, the ministry report says.

As well as the acquisition of long-distance strike capabilities, the military is focusing on improving electronic warfare and information warfare over the next five years, the report says.

To ensure electronic superiority over the enemy, the military plans to develop, or buy from abroad, mobile electronic-warfare systems and weapons capable of countering electro-magnetic pulse attacks.

To finance such weapons development, the ministry has submitted a budget request of NT$605.2 billion to the Executive Yuan, but has been granted only NT$334.5 billion, the report says.

The ministry hopes to persuade the Cabinet to grant it additional funds for the next five years.

The extra money will be used to buy priority items such as eight non-nuclear submarines, which the navy is eager to acquire to counter the threat from China.

The military also plans to develop unmanned aerial vehicles as well as improve superconductor research and nanotechnology over the next five years.

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