The air force has received domestically developed supersonic cruise missiles with a range of 2,000km, a source said on Saturday.
The Ching Tien (擎天) missile, which can hit targets north of Beijing, is being deployed by the air force and has entered mass production, the source said.
The addition of the Ching Tien means that the military now has four missile types with ranges of more than 1,000km, including an extended-range variant of the Hsiung Feng IIE, the source said.
Photo: Screen grab from Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology’s Web site
The Ching Tien was discussed in a report by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank when the missile was still in development.
Then codenamed Yunfeng (雲峰), the missile was reported to have a range of 1,200km to 2,000km, making it Taiwan’s longest-range missile.
More recent information suggests that the Ching Tien’s range is on the higher side of that estimate, and the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), which developed the missile, is continuing to make improvements, the source said.
Photo: Screen grab from Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Web site
The Hsiung Feng IIE, of which there are two main variants — the Type A and Type B — is also undergoing improvements, the source said.
“Type A has a range of 500km, while the extended-range Type B has a range of more than 1,000km,” the source said.
“The two variants use different propulsion systems,” they said. “Type B uses a turbofan engine propulsion system, which can fly further while conserving fuel.”
The Type A missiles were first successfully tested in 2004, while the Type B missiles were first successfully tested in 2007, the source said, adding that both are now mass-produced and are being used by the air force’s special missile brigade.
“The Type B has been reported to have a range anywhere between 1,200km and 1,500km, meaning it can strike inland targets in China. It could be fired from mobile launchers during a counterattack,” the source said.
Former CSIST president Kung Chia-cheng (龔家政) previously said that Taiwan’s first domestically produced ballistic missile had been developed during the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) as part of the “Tien Gung Project.”
That project produced two types of missiles — one with a range of 600km and the other with a range of more than 1,000km, the source said.
“Kung says in his book that Chen once inspected the tunnels at the Jiupeng base where the missiles were tested, and he was astonished by the size of the missiles,” the source added.
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