The military has begun modifying its fleet of domestically made Ching Chiang-class patrol boats by equipping them with Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) ramjet-powered supersonic anti-ship missiles to counter large surface ships in the Taiwan Strait.
Developed by China Shipbuilding Corp — now known as CSBC Corp, Taiwan — in the 1990s, a total of 11 of the 500 tonne coastal patrol vessels entered service with the navy in 1999 and 2000. The ships were initially equipped with four HF-1 surface-to-surface missiles, one 40mm anti-aircraft gun and one 20mm gun.
In May last year, the Ministry of National Defense unveiled plans to outfit the navy’s eight Cheng Kung-class frigates and a number of Ching Chiang-class vessels with the HF-3, Taiwan’s “aircraft carrier killer” cruise missile developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
Reports yesterday said modification work had begun on seven of the patrol boats, each of which is to be equipped with four HF-3 launchers, and that five Cheng Kung-class frigates had been outfitted with the missile so far as part of a NT$12 billion (US$406 million) program to arm the navy with 120 HF-3s.
A new 500 tonne radar-evasive fast attack corvette, currently at development stage under a project codenamed “Hsun Hai,” or “Swift Sea,” is also expected to be outfitted with eight HF-3s and HF-2s.
Light missile boats like the Ching Chiang, Hsun Hai and the 170 tonne Kuang Hua VI-class vessels launched in recent years are part of ongoing efforts to create an asymmetrical capability to counter China’s increasingly powerful navy. Relatively slow destroyers and frigates with heavy displacement, including aircraft carriers, are seen as particularly vulnerable to asymmetrical strategies.
Although ministry sources have confirmed plans to deploy land-based HF-3s on the west and east coasts of Taiwan, the ministry denied reports last month that an extended range variant of the missile, currently at 300km, was under development.
A longer-range HF-3 would allow Taiwan to deploy the missiles on the eastern coast and aim them at the Taiwan Strait while using mountainous geography, such as that found in Hualien, as cover from missile attacks by China, thus limiting exposure of the launchers.
The HF-3 entered production in 2010. At least 250 are believed to be in service.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY IN ASIA: Twitter aims to ‘play a unique role in enabling the public conversation around important social movements,’ the US company said Twitter has thrown its support behind the “Milk Tea Alliance” of democracy movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, defying China at a time when Beijing is punishing Western companies for commenting on what it considers internal matters. The social media company yesterday prominently displayed flags of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand while unveiling an emoji to support democracy advocates in places that have in the past few years seen historic protests and share a love for the beverage. The emoji will automatically show up when users post the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag, which was posted been 11 million times