Fears surrounding the commercial debut of the China’s Beidou satellite navigation system last week have centered on the development by the Chinese military in recent years of a bomb kit that can transform “dumb” bombs into “smart” ones.
Chief among them is the Lei Shi-6 (LS-6) “Thunder Stone” precision-guided glide bomb first unveiled by the Luoyang Optoelectro Technology Development Center in late 2006. The guidance “fit,” which is attached to conventional bombs and has deployable wings, can support a number of bomb weights, from 50kg to 500kg, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last year.
Once installed, a “dumb” bomb becomes a “standoff” maneuverable precision-guided bomb similar to the US-developed Joint Attack Direct Munition (JDAM), which relies on US satellites for guidance. Unlike laser-guided weapons, projectiles using satellites for guidance can be used in any weather conditions.
According to Chinese media, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a series of tests of the LS-6 on the Shenyang J-8B starting in 2006.
Relying on the navigation capabilities provided by the Beidou satellites, aircraft pilots could limit their exposure to an enemy’s aircraft and air defense system by releasing their smart bomb from a distance. The LS-6 has a range of 40km when dropped at an altitude of 8,000m and 60km at 10,000m, bringing its ordnance at a speed of Mach 1 to within 15m of a target.
Military experts have said that while Taiwan spends more than US$300 million per Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) fire unit and missiles, the production of guided bombs like as the LS-6 is substantially cheaper. The cost difference means that a far greater number of smart bombs can be built than Taiwan’s Patriot missile units can intercept, although this view does not take the other, less expensive, layers of Taiwan’s air defense architecture into account.
LS-6 bombs could also be mounted on carrier-based aircraft, which China has been developing, giving the People’s Liberation Army Navy a much wider angle from which to direct bombs and missiles against Taiwan. This would severely undermine the PAC-3’s ability to intercept them, given the limitations posed by the Patriot radar’s 90-degree sector coverage.
The Taiwan Affairs Office last week denied the Beidou system would be used by the Chinese military and played down reports in Taiwan that the satellites posed a threat to the region.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of