The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday.
The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow confines of the Taiwan Strait, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Taiwan’s radar systems and anti-ship missile units can track large or medium-sized warships with relative ease in waters near its stations, a capability proven by their performance during China’s naval drills and other activities, the official said.
China’s 052-class guided-missile destroyers can be rendered combat ineffective or sunk after being struck by four anti-ship missiles, while two missiles should suffice for smaller craft, the official said, citing analysts.
Torpedoes that strike a ship below its waterline would cause greater damage than missiles, the official said.
As the Sea-Air Combat Power Improvement Plan enters into effect, Taiwan is initiating the mass production of locally designed missiles from this year to 2026, the source said.
Under the five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology would manufacture 70 Hsiung Feng III/IIIE missiles per year, while 131 Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Sheng missiles can be produced every year by sharing an assembly line, the source said.
In addition, Taiwan is expected to receive 100 Harpoon missile launchers and 400 missiles from the US, which would be deployed in conjunction with domestically made systems, the source said.
Taiwan’s ability to deploy multiple types of missiles would improve the kill probability of strikes on ships, ensuring that China would pay a heavy price for trying to invade, the official said.
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