TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Cabinet on Thursday (Sept 16) approved a military weapons procurement plan that allows for the mass production of an extended-range variant of the Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile, as part of the defense ministry’s development of land-based anti-ship missile systems.
An analyst familiar with national defense technology research pointed out the maximum range of this new Hsiung Feng III missile is almost 400 kilometers, which greatly increases Taiwan’s ability to keep China’s military at bay, Liberty Times reported.
As to how the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) extended the new missile’s range, the analyst hypothesized that advanced booster technology had been implemented.
He said the NCSIST had tried various methods and produced different prototypes of extended-range projectiles during the research and development process. Among them, booster rockets were used for testing.
According to the Ministry of National Defense’s report on the weapons procurement plan, the military's development of land-based anti-ship missile systems is divided into two phases, per Liberty Times.
The first phase is the continued production of current-model Hsiung Feng II and III missiles, and mobile launchers from 2022 to 2026. The second phase is the mass production of extended-range Hsiung Feng III missiles and mobile launchers from 2023 to 2026.
The Hsiung Feng III missiles are currently deployed on the Navy's Cheng Kung-class, Chin Chiang-class, and Tuo Chiang-class warships, as well as in strategically placed land-based mobile launchers.
Larger naval warships may also carry the extended-range Hsiung Feng III missiles in the future, Liberty Times said. However, considering the new missiles’ larger size, flames, and powerful thrust during launch, only the Keelung-class ships will be suitable to be outfitted with them.