Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MND mum on land-attack cruise missile plans for Penghu

Amid fears that US arms sales could dry up, Taiwan could explore ‘more radical’ solutions in the production and deployment of indigenous systems

Taiwan’s military could deploy surface-to-surface missiles on the Penghu Islands as part of efforts to mount a more credible deterrent capability against China, budgetary documents submitted earlier this month say.

According to the documents, the Ministry of National Defense’s Missile Command would deploy three missile squadrons at a fixed base on Penghu as part of a NT$2.5 billion (US$84.8 million) “Ji Zhun” (戟隼) plan for the acquisition of Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) land attack cruise missiles. Part of the budget would reportedly be set aside for the construction of bunkers with dehumidifying systems to store the missiles.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2008 gave the go-ahead for the production of 300 HF-2Es. The missile, developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), was approved for full production earlier this year.

The HF-2E can be fired from land-based emplacements as well as surface vessels. With an estimated range of 600km, the HF-2E brings some ports in southern China within range, which would now be extended by being deployed on Penghu, located in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

1 comment:

Michael Fagan said...

Cruise missiles are expensive - particularly the supersonic variants. I wonder whether the MND might not be better off with a BWA program? An order of magnitude cheaper, for potentially much the same effect individually in both range, precision and munitions - though of course their lower cost would mean they could be deployed in significantly larger quantities.