The military and the coast guard are mulling the deployment of an advanced automated defense system on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) to defend the nation’s southernmost territory against growing regional threats.
The Ministry of National Defense has reportedly made 17 proposals — including the deployment of a coastal defense rocket system and a short-range automated weapon system — to the Coast Guard Administration, which is in charge of the defense of Itu Aba, to improve its defense capabilities.
The coastal defense rocket system developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the nation’s top defense research institute, is a remote-controlled multiple rocket launcher with anti-landing capabilities.
The system, which fires rockets carrying a high-explosive warhead with a range of 1.2km and a kill radius of 35m, could be deployed to critically fortified positions to form a defense perimeter around the island, which is 1,600km from Kaohsiung, out of the immediate reach of the military.
A short-range automated defense XTR-102 weapon system developed by the institute has also been suggested.
The XTR-102 turret is armed with two T-75 20mm automatic guns and can be operated remotely to defend outlying islands and critical positions where troops can be easily outnumbered.
Medium and small-sized unmanned aerial vehicles have also been recommended for deployment to boost defense capabilities on Itu Aba.
Advanced weapons with limited attack range have been recommended so their deployment does not threaten other claimants of the disputed South China Sea islands, media reports said.
The island is defended by an array of light weapons, including 40mm anti-aircraft artillery, a 120mm mortar and AT-4 anti-armor rockets.
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