The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has provided a timetable for its long-range missile programs in a report to the Legislative Yuan following the passage of a NT$237 billion (US$8.45 billion) budget in January.
The report follows a request by lawmakers for a timetable on implementing the Sea-Air Combat Power Improvement Plan, a five-year program that started earlier this year, a source said yesterday on condition of anonymity.
The Hsiung Feng III, a supersonic missile that can attack ships and ground-based targets up to a range of 400km, is to enter mass production next year, which would raise its annual capacity to 70 units from 20 now, the source said, citing the report.
Photo copied by Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times
The increase follows the construction of six new facilities, which the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is to complete in late June, the report said.
The Hsiung Sheng cruise missile, with an estimated range of 1,000km to 1,200km — enough to reach China — has been confirmed to be the same system formerly known as the Hsiung Feng IIE missile, the source said.
The combined annual production capacity of Hsiung Sheng and Hsiung Feng II missiles — which share assembly lines — would rise to 131 units from 81 units, the report said.
Basic and extended-range Hsiung Feng missiles are being deployed on Taiwan proper and outlying islands as a defense against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s large warships, it added.
The Hai Chien II surface-to-air missile — which can be launched from the ground or a ship — would see its annual production rise to 150 units from 40 units, the report said.
The annual production capacity of Tien Kung III air defense missiles would also increase to 96 units from 48, while the Wan Chien air-to-ground cruise missiles and the Chien Hsiang loitering munition would reach 50 units and 48 units respectively, it said.
This should result in production of the Hsiung Sheng missile, the Wan Chien missile and the Chien Hsiang loitering munition being completed in 2024 or 2025, ahead of schedule, the report said.
The combat power improvement plan was intended for the acquisition of long-range cruise missiles, upgraded air defense systems and modern warships, government statements said at the time.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
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