The military’s top research body yesterday denied any data breach after the Chinese-language Mirror Media Weekly magazine reported that equipment used to calibrate the military’s domestically developed supersonic missile system was found to have been repaired in China.
The National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology said in a news release that it had sent a theodolite, which it bought in 2021 for use in Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile systems, back to the manufacturer in Switzerland for maintenance after finding it was faulty.
After the repaired theodolite was sent back, the institute found out that the equipment had been sent back to Taiwan from the China’s Shandong Province instead of from Switzerland, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
Asked about the origin of the repaired theodolite, the manufacturer told the institute that it operates a maintenance center in Shandong, at which it conducted the repair, the institute said.
The magazine said that the institute sent two theodolites for repair in Switzerland, one in December 2021 and one in February last year.
The institute’s news release did not specify how many theodolites it had sent to the manufacturer and when it received them back.
The institute said it ran a full-scale information security check on the equipment to ensure that no malware had been installed while it was repaired in China.
This cleared all security concerns, it said.
The institute also said that it was discussing measures to ensure that similarly sensitive equipment would not be sent to China for maintenance, citing national security reasons.
A theodolite is a precision optical instrument for measuring angles in specialized applications such as rocket launches.
The institute said that the theodolite it sent to Switzerland is used for launching Hsiung Feng III missiles.
The Hsiung Feng III, the most modern in Taiwan’s Hsiung Feng missile family, is a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. It was first test-fired in 1997, with further tests conducted in November 2004.
The navy reportedly finished the initial operational test and evaluation in 2005, with the missile system first put on public display in the Double Ten National Day parade in Taipei in 2007.
The missile is believed to have an operating range of 400km with a possible maximum range of more than 1,500km.
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