Hsiung Feng II-E missiles have been deployed: sources

By Hsu Shao-hsuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Oct 18, 2007 - Page 1

A small number of the newly developed Hsiung Feng II-E cruise missiles have already been deployed around the nation, and up to 100 of the missiles will be manufactured within the next eight years, military sources said.

The missiles will be deployed in Taiwan proper as well as on its outlying islands, they said.

The locally developed Hsiung Feng II-E has a range of up to 1,000km and can be launched from land, sea or air. The range depends upon the type of engine used.

The missile had been slated to be a part of this year's National Day military display, but was pulled from the display after the US expressed strong concern.

Sources said that future production of the Hsiung Feng would be divided into two phases. The first phase will utilize turbo jet engines, giving the missiles a range of about 500km, although these missiles will be referred to by the military as belonging to the 600km class.

The second stage of the project will utilize more efficient turbo fan engines being developed by the Ministry of National Defense-affiliated Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology. In addition to increasing the range of the missiles, the engine is also expected to increase their accuracy.

However, the sources said that the whole Hsiung Feng mass production project could be put in jeopardy if the institute failed to develop a suitable turbo fan engine.

They said that while many key components needed for weapons production originate from the US, the number of components approved for export by Washington has dwindled in the past six months.

This has affected the nation's Hsiung Feng II, Hsiung Feng III and Hsiung Feng II-E missiles, as well as other advanced weapons, they said.

The Chungshan Institute is seeking to remedy the situation by working on developing weapons components domestically as well as seeking non-US sources of components from abroad, sources said.

Researchers have so far been cautiously optimistic, but it remains to be seen whether or not US components can be successfully replaced, the sources said.