Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Defense ministry denies plans for missile launch

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday denied media reports that the navy had proposed dispatching Kidd-class destroyers to the waters off Hawaii next year to conduct a test launch of a US-made Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) surface-to-air missile.

The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that only one of the navy’s four Kidd-class destroyers has conducted a SM-2 test since the weapon system was commissioned in 2005.

Citing a military source, the report said the navy had encountered problems launching SM-2s from Kidd-class destroyers.

The newspaper said the navy hoped to take part in the annual US naval exercise in the Pacific Ocean, adding that Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) had raised the idea with US officials during a recent US-Taiwan military exchange event in the US.

Ministry spokesman Major-General David Lo (羅紹和) yesterday said the navy’s four Kidd-class destroyers each conducted a SM-2 test in the US before the vessels were transferred to Taiwan.

A SM-2 was also launched from a Kidd-class destroyer during the annual Han Kuang military exercises in 2007, so there have been five SM-2 launches from Kidd-class destroyers so far, he said.

Lo said the China Times report was incorrect and that the navy would hold missile tests in accordance with its annual training schedules.

A ministry source told the Taipei Times earlier this year that US authorities must be informed prior to test-launching a SM-2 during an exercise.

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