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Harpoon missiles beef up Taiwan's undersea strike ability: report

Harpoon missiles beef up Taiwan's undersea strike ability: report

Washington, Jan. 7 (CNA) The U.S.' delivery of submarine-launched Harpoon missiles will help enhance Taiwan's asymmetric counterforce capability and could pose a new challenge to China's invasion plans, according to the U.S.-based Defense News weekly. Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Hsia said in a legislative hearing late last year that the United States had begun delivery of the anti-ship cruise Harpoon Block II missiles.
The Defense News said in a Taipei-datelined report on Jan. 6 that the delivery included 32 UGM-841 encapsulated all-up rounds, two UTM-84L exercise missiles and two UTM-84XD certification and training rounds.
The Harpoons will be divided between Taiwan's two Dutch-built diesel-electric attack subs, the 793 Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) and the 794 Hai Hu (Sea Tiger), both of which were acquired from the Netherlands in the 1980s, the report said.
The submarine-launched cruise missiles will improve Taiwan's ability to carry out stealth strikes on Chinese targets, including land-based coastal targets, according to the weekly. It quoted a Taiwan defense industry source as saying that the Harpoons incorporate the inertial measurement unit of the Joint Direct Attack Munition, as well as the software, mission computer and GPS/inertial navigation system of the standoff land attack missile-expanded response. The supersonic sea-skimming missiles will therefore allow Taiwanese submarines to strike targets farther north and south along China's coastline, the source said. The report also quoted Fu Mei, director of the Taiwan Security Analysis Center as saying that the Harpoon capability will certainly be meaningful in a cross-Taiwan Strait conflict, particularly in an amphibious invasion scenario. The ability to detect, quickly track, designate and assign weapons to engage pop-up targets like submarine-launched Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles will be an essential requirement for the Chinese naval force's shipboard integrated air defense and combat direction systems, Fu said. According to Hsia's Dec. 26 report to Taiwan's Legislature, the 150 nautical mile-Harpoon missiles will be installed on Taiwan's two Dutch-built combat-capable submarines.
The NT$5.87 billion (US$195.46 million) deal, which is being fulfilled between 2008 and 2016, is aimed at extending the country's undersea force's strike capability, Hsia said. (By Tony Liao, Claudia Liu and Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-05-11 23:09 GMT+08:00