The navy yesterday confirmed that a missile from a US-made M48A2 “Chaparral” air defense system exploded near houses in Pingtung County during an exercise in March.
The Chinese-language United Evening News reported yesterday that during a drill at a military base in Jioupeng (九鵬), Pingtung County, a missile fired from a Chaparral toward a sea target suddenly veered toward land and exploded near houses in a village.
The missiles are set to self-detonate 25 seconds after losing contact with a target, and the missile exploded in the air.
One vehicle was damaged in the incident, with no injuries reported.
The navy said the military had compensated villagers for the damage and apologized.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發) went to Jioupeng immediately afterward to console villagers and handle compensation, the navy said, adding that the villagers were understanding.
The reasons for the incident could be complicated, the navy said, and could include system problems, the condition of the missile and the weather among other causes.
The news report said a Marine Corps unit and an Army air defense unit operated the Chaparral during the live-fire exercise. The Marines launched two missiles at sea flares. While the first hit the target, the second turned right toward land and exploded beyond the village.
The Marine Corps said that before firing the missile, an audio signal confirmed that the missile had locked onto its target, and infrared sensors also confirmed that the target was in sight, the report said.
The Marine Corps are still trying to determine the reasons for the error, the report said.