Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) yesterday gave only vague answers when asked to comment on reports that the military’s top research institute had developed a 1,200km medium-range surface-to-surface missile capable of hitting central China.
“The military normally does not comment on programs that are still in development,” Kao said of a report in the Chinese-language Next Magazine, adding that some of the article’s content was not factual.
However, Kao added that “many things” were still in development and that there was much room for improvement, adding that the ministry would explain the matter to the public “when the time becomes opportune.”
The article said that following a number of breakthroughs in engine technology and miniaturization, the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), the nation’s top military research institute, had developed — and tested twice this year — a new surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,200km that is capable of hitting Shanghai, about 700km from Taiwan, and parts of the South China Sea.
If the budgets are made available, mass production of between 50 and 60 missiles could begin in 2014 over a period of five years, with first deployments as early as 2015, the report said.
The article added that the military did not rule out developing a 2,000km-range missile, which would bring Beijing within reach.
Taiwan’s current land attack cruise missile (LACM) force employs the Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E), a 650km land and ship-based variant of the HF-2 anti-ship cruise missile. Mass production of the missile, which has not been seen publicly, is reported to have begun in 2010, along with that of the HF-3 supersonic anti-ship missile.
The ultra-secretive CSIST has long struggled with range and warhead miniaturization issues and has faced pressure from the US, which fears an arms race in the Taiwan Strait, not to seek further advances in LACMs.
Taiwan’s surface-to-surface missile capability is regarded as a purely counterforce means to attack enemy missile bases as well as command and control centers for China’s Second Artillery Corps. Although the HF-2E can target missile bases in Fujian Province, where the majority of China’s Dong Feng-11 (DF-11) short-range ballistic missiles are deployed, it comes short of the missile bases located deeper in Chinese territory, where medium-range DF-15 and DF-16s are located.
Although this view is not universal, a number of military experts say that a missile deterrent force would be a more cost-effective way for Taiwan to defend itself against China than the acquisition of expensive platforms such as new F-16C/Ds or large destroyers.
WAR FUNDING: A report by UK and Ukrainian defense analysts said that Taiwanese exports of a compound used in gunpowder have been helping Russia propagate its war About 20 percent of nitrocellulose — a compound used in gunpowder — imported into Russia has been sourced from Taiwan, a joint British-Ukrainian investigative report showed. Nitrocellulose is a key component of smokeless gunpowder, and the EU has banned export of the compound to Russia due to its ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. The report said that nitrocellulose produced in Taiwan makes its way to Russia by passing through other countries such as Turkey. Only one company, T.N.C. Industrial Co (台硝), was named in the report, which also named China and Germany as key sources of the compound for
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
FOOD FRACAS: Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu called for the premier to deliver the address at 10:27am, but KMT legislators swarmed the podium to block him Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday temporarily obstructed Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) from giving what is likely to be his last policy report to the legislature in protest at the Cabinet’s handling of food safety issues. The premier eventually delivered his report after a spat between caucuses about how and when Chen should deliver a special report on food safety. The KMT wanted the premier to make the special report yesterday, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) said that the legislature should hold an internal meeting on the issue today and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed Friday. As they could not agree,