Fri, Jan 21, 2011 - Page 3 News List

MR HU GOES TO WASHINGTON: Taiwan likely to hold second set of missile tests

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter, with AFP

Following a less-than-stellar major missile test on Tuesday, a military official yesterday said that a second exercise would likely be held in the second half of this year.

Of the 19 missiles fired during the United Air Defense Fire exercise, held at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology’s Jiupeng missile testing base in Pingtung County, two misfired and four encountered various problems resulting in failure to detonate upon nearing their target.

Following the exercise, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told media he was “not satisfied” with the results and called on the military to improve its performance.

Among those that failed were the indigenous Tien Chien II “Sky Sword” (TC-II) and French-made Mica — both air-to-air missiles — as well as the US-made surface-to-air Sparrow, which misfired and plummeted into the South China Sea.

In all, 11 types of missile were fired — almost every air-to-air and surface-to-air missile in the nation’s arsenal minus the AIM-120 AMRAAM and PAC-2 missile systems, Defense News quoted an unnamed defense official as saying.

Citing unnamed sources, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported that the military would hold a second round of tests involving the TC-II, Mica and Sparrow later this year.

“[The missiles] may be tested again during another drill to be held in the second half of this year, but no final decision has been made,” a Ministry of National Defense official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

A ministry spokesman told the Taipei Times prior to Tuesday’s exercise that a second exercise was already planned for later this year.

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