TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Over NT$12.4 billion has been allocated to a Ministry of Defense project codenamed the "Qilin Project" (麒麟專案), to extend the range Taiwan's Yun Feng or "Cloud Peak" medium-range missiles (雲峰飛彈) officially to launch satellites, but this will also provide it with the capability of striking deep into China, including Beijing, reported Up Media.
The Yun Feng, which is being developed by the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology, builds on the foundation of the Skybow Missile (天弓飛彈) to create a supersonic missile powered by a ramjet engine with a solid-fueled booster that can take 50 to 200 kilogram micro satellites into a low earth orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers. If the Qilin Project succeeds in converting the missile into a satellite launch vehicle, it will extend its range from 1,200 km to 2,000 km, which in the event of a war would enable it to deliver semi-armor piercing high explosive warheads to Beijing and all Chinese military bases south of it.
Yun Feng missile blasting off from launchpad. (Image by Pixnet user Oolxiang)
Though the missile has been in development possibly as far back as the Lee Teng-hui ( 李登輝) administration, reports of development of the Yun Feng missile as an offensive weapon system did not first surface until 2012. In 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, there was speculation that the program would be discontinued as a "goodwill gesture to China."
However, after a review by the Ministry of Technology of the second phase of the National Space Organization's space and technology program, and after discussions within the Executive Yuan, it was decided that the "Micro Satellite Rocket Launch Vehicle" should continue to be developed. Tsai has this year given approval for the Ministry of Defense to commission the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology to develop the "Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle."
Yun Feng missile on launchpad. (Image by Pixnet user Oolxiang)