Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tri-service missile exercise at Jiupeng

A Lafayette-class frigate fires a Hsiung Feng II missile
The hit ratio was much better than last year, but problems with target drones, and an intrusion by a foreign fishing boat, caused headaches 

The armed forces yesterday held a missile exercise in the south, substantially increasing the hit ratio from a similar drill in January last year with a 96 percent success rate. In all, 26 missiles were fired from 12 platforms in the Joint Live Fire Exercise of the Armed Forces at the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) missile test base in Jioupeng (九鵬), Pingtung County. Three services — the army, air force and navy — participated, with more than 2,300 soldiers mobilized for the exercise.

A Tien Chien missile hits its target
Things got off to a rather dispiriting start when the first two items on the agenda, the CSIST-developed Tien Kung II (TK-2) surface-to-air missile and a US-made ship-launched Standard Missile I (SM-1) surface-to-air missile, were canceled seconds before they were to be fired. Just over 15 minutes after successful intercepts by ground-launched Hawk and air-launched Tien Chien II (TC-2) and MICA missiles, a Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) anti-ship missile launch from a Lafayette-class frigate had to be canceled after a fishing vessel reportedly ventured into the naval exclusion zone. Minutes later, a short-range HF-1, launched off a Jin Chiang-class missile corvette, hit its target, a decommissioned transport ship located 9 nautical miles (16.6km) into the Taiwan Strait.

A surface-to-air Tien Chien I
From then on, the rest of the exercise went smoothly, with F-16-launched AGM-65 “Maverick” and AIM-9 “Sidewinder” missiles, and a “Ching Kuo” Indigenous Defense Force-launched TC-1, all hitting their targets in mid-flight. A ground-to-air version of the TC-1 also intercepted its target, while two AIM-9s launched by AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters hit their objectives. 

Journalists cheered when the military announced that the HF-2 and SM-1 launches would now proceed, as the fishing vessel had cleared the area. While the SM-1, launched off a Perry-class vessel, intercepted its target, the HF-2 failed to hit home, missing another decommissioned transport ship 33 nautical miles at sea — the only miss that day. 

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


Anonymous said...

I think you have been misinformed, Taiwan's Perry class ships doesn't have the capability to use Standard SM-2, only its Kidd class destroyers have that ability.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

You're absolutely right. The Australian Navy successfully launched a SM-2 off an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate in 2009 ... but Taiwan's Perrys don't have them; only the Kidd-class, as you rightly put it. Thanks for catching that!