A new construction project listed in the government’s e-procurement system as commissioned by the air force has roused speculation that it could be a bid to enhance missile bases on Lienchiang County’s Dongyin Island (東引).
The construction is projected to cost NT$402 million (US$13.8 million) and be concluded by June 30, 2022, bid results on the platform showed.
However, the military in a statement on Monday said that the project was to improve the quality of life for armed forces personnel stationed on the island.
In a response to the statement, a military source said that the cost far exceeded the funds required for such improvements, adding that it might be a bid to reinforce newly established facilities on the island.
The maximum interception range for the Tien Kung III missile system is 40km, but the effective interception range falls between 24km and 26km, which is similar to the US’ MIM-104 Patriot-3 missile system, the source said.
The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is hoping to increase the maximum range to 70km and the effective range to 35km to 40km so that the missiles could better counter the threat posed by Chinese missiles, the source added.
“We are, essentially, hoping that our missile systems would have a portion of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system capability,” the source said.
The radar system on Dongyin Island is capable of monitoring all activity at the Yixu and Longtian People’s Liberation Army Air Force bases in China’s Fujian Province, the source said, adding that the radar system could also track and lock on to Chinese planes should their actions constitute a direct threat to Taiwan.
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