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Taiwan orders 10,000 Kestrel anti-armor missiles

Conscripts in anti-tank units will be taught to fire shoulder-launched missile

The Army is ordering 10,000 Kestrel anti-tank weapons for conscripts. (NCSIST image)

The Army is ordering 10,000 Kestrel anti-tank weapons for conscripts. (NCSIST image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is buying 10,962 Kestrel anti-armor missiles to prepare for the extension of conscription to 12 months next year, reports said Saturday (Nov. 4).

The missiles are manufactured in Taiwan by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST). The government announced last year it was extending compulsory military service from four months to one year beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

In order to improve the training of the conscripts with actual weapons, the Army ordered 5,000 Kestrel sets in September last year. Last August, it added 5,962 missile sets to be delivered by the end of November 2025, per the Liberty Times.

Any soldier or conscript serving in anti-tank or relevant units should gain practical experience with the firing of missiles like the Kestrel, defense officials said. The single-shot, shoulder-launched weapon is easy to carry and its price has been reduced to NT$100,000 (US$3,100) a missile.

The sets are equipped with night vision, with the missile hitting a target efficiently at a distance of 400 meters. The projectile can pierce through a 30-centimeter-thick brick wall.

Units already equipped with the Kestrel are the Coast Guard Administration, Marine Corps, military police, and the Army. Military police have reportedly already practiced using the Kestrel while riding motorbikes near the Presidential Office Building, simulating the defense of the president against a Chinese attack.