Thursday, December 13, 2012

Taiwan’s new early-warning radar tracks North Korea rocket

South Koreans watch the trajectory of the rocket
The Ministry of National Defense said the powerful EWR in Hsinchu came online on Tuesday, the first confirmation that the billion-dollar system is active 

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday for the first time publicly confirmed that its US$1.3 billion long-range early-warning radar (EWR) system in Hsinchu was operational and said it had tracked a highly controversial rocket launch shortly after it blasted off in North Korea.

In a statement, the ministry said it closely monitored the launch and that the rocket’s flight did not pose any threat to national security. 

The EWR at Leshan
“Our long-range early-warning radar system detected the North Korean rocket flying over waters about 200km east of Taiwan, and that the first and second stages of the rocket crashed into waters off South Korea and the Philippines respectively,” the ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said Chief of General Staff General Lin Chen-yi (林鎮夷) was charged with monitoring the situation at Hengshan Headquarters during the launch, adding that US-made Patriot missiles, domestically built Tien Kung air defense systems and Kidd-class destroyers equipped with surface-to-air missiles monitored the launch and were ready to respond. 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. More of my coverage, with critics of the EWR’s vulnerabilities, in Jane’s Defence Weekly (subscription required).

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