To enhance its retaliatory strike capability, the military is now developing an air-launched anti-radiation missile capable of destroying air defense radar stations along China's southeastern coast.
According to the latest issue of Jane's Defense Weekly magazine, the anti-radiation missile has been test-launched once since it was developed, though the result of the test have not been publicized.
Defense sources told the Taipei Times that the test-launch was held somewhere off Hualien a few months ago and was launched from a Taiwan-made Indigenous Defense Fighter (
One of the main reasons behind the decision to use the IDF is that locally built weapons systems cannot be integrated with those of the F-16 for both technical and political reasons. The anti-radiation missile under development is based on the domestically-developed Sky Sword 2 (Tien Chien 2, or TC-2) air-to-air missile (AAM), which is itself a copycat of the US-made medium-range AIM 120 AAM. It is thus designated TC-2A.
Chang Li-teh (
"All we do know is that the TC-2A program is aimed at developing a capability to destroy China's air defense radar stations along its southeastern coast. The developer, the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), is now working hard on the terminal seeker portion of the missile," Chang said.
The terminal seeker is the device which guides a missile to its target and is the most sophisticated part of the weapon.
"The CSIST has actually produced a prototype seeker but it looks too large to fit the TC-2A missile. They must be trying to reduce the size of the seeker and upgrade its capabilities," he said.
"Technical problems involved in the development of the seeker are mainly about whether the seeker can overcome enemy electronic countermeasures. Put simply, if the enemy suddenly turns off the radar being targeted or releases decoys in the vicinity, will the seeker still be able to guide the missile to its destination?" he said.
According to classified information, the TC-2A missile, on which the anti-radiation missile is based, has a range of between 74km and 90km, enabling its carrier plane to fire at targets along China's southeastern coast from a safe distance in the Taiwan Strait.
The Strait, which separates Taiwan and China, is around 130km wide at its narrowest point and 250km at its widest.
The anti-radiation missile is expected to enhance considerably Taiwan's retaliatory strike capability against China, adding another option for the military to choose from in addition to the bombing of China's coastal facilities by the F-16s. It also fits into President Chen Shui-bian's (
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