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Home The News News Missile project to wrap up early: sources

Missile project to wrap up early: sources

A NT$16.9 billion (US$534.93 million) project to upgrade the military’s missile defense systems would be completed this year, allowing the deployment of at least 100 long-range Hsiung Sheng missiles and providing more deterrence against China, military sources said on Saturday.

Hsiung Sheng missiles are an extended-range version of the Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) surface-to-surface cruise missile, and are believed to have a range of up to 1,200km, which would allow them to hit targets well inside China.

They went into mass production in 2022, the sources said.

Models of the Hsiung Feng II, back left, and Hsiung Feng III, right, anti-ship missiles are displayed at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center on Sept. 27, 2018.

Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times

The project is part of a special budget for the Ministry of National Defense aimed at improving naval and air combat capabilities, and while the project’s time line was four years, the majority of production would be completed this year, they said.

Two other versions of the HF-2E missile system are already in use by the air force. They are classified as either Type A or Type B, with Type A having a range of 500km and Type B having a range of 1,000km due to their different propulsion systems.

The military developed a new turbofan engine codenamed Kunpeng (鯤鵬) for the Type B missile, which is able to fly farther while conserving fuel, one source said.

The Type A missile was first tested in 2004, and the Type B in 2007, the source said, adding that both have since been in regular mass production and supplied to the air force’s missile brigade.

“The new longer-range surface-to-surface cruise missile ... looks similar to the American Tomahawk,” the source said.

Although the ministry has not specifically disclosed the range of the Hsiung Sheng, sources have put it at up to 1,200km.

A report submitted to the Legislative Yuan in April 2022 revealed that the Hsiung Sheng can carry high-explosive and fragmentation warheads.

“It can be used to conduct counter-attack operations against the enemy’s command posts, bunkers and airport runways,” the source said.

A previous report from the ministry to the Legislative Yuan also said that the Hsiung Sheng shares a production line with the surface-to-air variants of the Hsiung Feng IIE.

Although the military has not announced expected production capacity, a new missile production plant at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology would likely allow more than 130 of the new missiles to be produced annually, the source said.

“When deployed alongside existing sea and air defense missile systems, the extended-range missile would improve overall combat readiness significantly,” the source said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2024/03/18

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Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

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