The military is planning to make a new generation of “smart” mines that can be deployed in shallow water to boost its defenses against a potential invasion by China, reports said yesterday.
Unlike earlier naval mines meant for deeper water, the new type can be deployed closer to the coastline and be more effective in warding off enemy landings, the Chinese-language United Daily News said on its Web site, citing unnamed military sources.
The west coast features a large number of estuaries, adding to the nation’s vulnerability, as an attacker does not have to invade across beaches, but can also move upriver and disembark further inland.
A Ministry of National Defense spokesman, who declined to comment on the project, said “smart” mines sense vessels nearby and do not have to be touched in order to go off.
Three other types of naval mines developed by Taiwan since the late 1980s are meant for deeper water purposes, such as targeting enemy submarines, and they lack the flexibility of shallow water mines, the report said.
The ministry has alloted a budget to start developing the new mines from next year, it added, without specifying the amount of money earmarked for the purpose.
It was unclear how far the development of the mine had progressed and if a prototype already exists.