Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - Page 1 News List

MND mum on anti-ship missile

CARRIER KILLER PLANS:Unnamed ministry officials sent mixed signals on alleged plans to develop a variant of the Hsiung Feng III or to deploy it on the east and west coast

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday refused to comment on a report in US-based Defense News the previous day that claimed that Taiwan was developing a new type of anti-ship cruise missile.

In a report titled “Taiwan Anti-Ship Missile Plan Place China’s Navy in Cross Hairs,” Defense News said that an unnamed Taiwanese defense industry source had informed it that the Taiwanese military was planning to build an extended-range anti-ship missile, possibly a variant of the Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) “Brave Wind” -surface-to-surface missile.

Once developed, the military would deploy the new missile on the eastern side of Taiwan and direct it across the Taiwan Strait at the Chinese coast, it said.

The 300km range HF-3, designed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST, 中山科學研究院), was first unveiled in 2007. At the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition in August last year, the missile was advertised as an “aircraft carrier killer,” widely seen at the time as an attempt to send a strong signal to China as it prepared to launch its first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Varyag, which is expected to enter service on Aug. 1.

Taiwan test-fired a HF-3 into the Pacific Ocean southeast of Taiwan in the middle of June last year.

Citing the same source, the journal said that as part of a program codenamed Hsiang Yang, the HF-3s were deployed on board the nation’s eight Cheng Kung frigates. Another unnamed source at the ministry told Defense News there was no Hsiang Yang program, but said there were plans to deploy the anti-ship missile on both coasts, while denying an extended-range program was in the works.

Ministry spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) refused to comment on the report yesterday, adding that the ministry remained committed to defense strategies aimed at safeguarding the country. It is standard policy for the ministry not to comment on programs.

In addition to the HF-3, the military is also deploying shore-based HF-2 anti-ship missiles along its west coast, as well as air and ship-launched Harpoon missiles. Some of those missiles are equipped with coastal suppression systems that can hit land targets along the Chinese coast, the article said.

As the Taipei Times reported in February, the Taiwanese navy’s two Dutch-built Hailung-class submarines are being outfitted with UGM-84L Harpoon anti-ship missiles — the first time Taiwanese submarines will have the capability of firing missiles.

According to Defense News, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy is especially vulnerable to submarine attacks, given its weak anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Additional reporting by CNA, with translation by Stacy Hsu

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