Asymmetrical warfare, mobile land-based long-range precision strike capability and multi-functional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are to make up the principle focus of the military, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in its report entitled Modernization of the Military over the Next Five Years.
The report, sent to the legislature last week for approval, sought to define and clarify Taiwan’s development of basic and asymmetrical combat capabilities, as well as the preservation of combat capabilities.
The development of the military’s asymmetrical forces places emphasis on the development of mobile land-based, long-range precision and area-of-effect strike capabilities, building and purchasing multi-functional UAVs as well as attack helicopters capable of littoral and beachhead attack capabilities and the establishment of all-frequency electronic detection, electronic countermeasures and cyberwarfare attack and detection capabilities, the report said.
Asymmetrical warfare is the establishment of a military force not overtly noticeable in peacetime, but capable of hitting enemy forces’ strategic centers hard in times of war and seeks to attack the vulnerabilities of the enemy to destroy or incapacitate their ability to continue to wage war, the report said.
It seeks to create positional advantages over the enemy and make the best use of all military forces by making the enemy reluctant to start a war after considering its potential losses, the report said.
Meanwhile, according to an unnamed ministry official, the mobile long-range strike capability includes the Hsiung Feng IIE missile and other surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missiles.
During the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, the armed forces modified a type of missile so that it would be able to reach coastal cities in China, but because it was an deployed in an emergency situation, the accuracy and reliability of the modified missiles were not ideal, the official said.
After years of research and modification, the missile’s range, precision and reliability have developed to the extent that it has become an “effective countermeasure,” the official said.
However, because of the sensitivity of the issue, the official declined to comment further on the missile’s capabilities.
On the issue of UAVs, the official said the production of UAVs was part of a global trend, pointing out that the Chinese were now developing UAVs with attack capabilities.
The Chinese claim that the “Yilong” UAV they designed is superior to the US Predator, the official said, adding that although the UAVs the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology has designed are based on the Predator, the long-range goal of the design is to manufacture a weapon on a par with the Reaper-class drones.
The institute has already handed over to the army 32 of its self-designed and researched UAVs, all of which are being used in training exercises in Taimali Township (太麻里) Taitung County, the official said.
The UAV would be used primarily for scouting and reconnaissance, the official said.
The official also said that despite many flaws in the design of the UAV, the military was confident that it would be able to correct those flaws and move towards the next stage of designing attack-capable UAVs.