Fri, Jul 08, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan test-fires self-developed sub-launched missile

AFP, TAIPEI

Taiwan has test-fired for the first time a locally developed submarine-launched missile designed to counter the threat of China’s fast-expanding navy, a report said yesterday.

An unknown number of Hsiung Feng II (HF-2, “Brave Wind”) ship-to-ship missiles developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology were launched during a night drill late last month, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported.

The drill was part of the navy’s five-year project to enhance the capabilities of two Dutch-built Chienlung (劍龍, “Sword Dragon”)-class submarines acquired in the late 1980s, it said, citing an unnamed military source.

“Although Taiwan has only two combat-ready submarines, once they are armed with such missiles, they will be able to serve as a deterrent to the Chinese naval fleets,” the source said.

The Liberty Times said the program to upgrade the submarines with the HF-2 missile was known as the “Juilung” (瑞龍, “auspicious dragon”) project.

The navy operates a fleet of four submarines, but only the two Dutch-built boats could be deployed in the event of war. The other two were built by the US in the 1940s and are used mainly for training.

The Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the report.

The military has also put into service land-based and air-launched HF-2s, which have a range of 150km.

Analysts say the missile will give the two subs beyond-vision striking capability that could be used to offset the threat of China’s naval fleet, which has undergone rapid modernization.

Additional reporting by Staff Writer

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