TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Air Force has reportedly started taking deliveries of the Ching Tien (擎天) supersonic cruise missile, which has a range of 2,000 km, putting Beijing well within the missile's range.
Mass production of the Ching Tien missiles has begun, and the Air Force has received a certain number for deployment, according to a source familiar with the matter cited by the Liberty Times. This brings the number of domestically produced missile systems with a range of 1,000 km or more to four.
These four reportedly include the Hsiung Feng IIE surface-to-surface land-attack cruise missile (1000 km), the extended-range Hsiung Feng IIE missiles (1,200 km), the Ching Tien missiles (2,000 km), and an unnamed ballistic missile system. The unnamed ballistic missile system is rumored to have Type A and Type B variants, with the Type B variant having a range of over 1,000 km.
The source said the Ching Tien missiles can reach deep into northern China, as far as Hohhot in Inner Mongolia.
When the Ching Tien was still in development, U.S. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a report saying that Taiwan was designing a supersonic cruise missile that at the time was code-named Yunfeng (雲峰). It said it had an estimated range of 1,200 to 2,000 km, which would make it the longest-range missile in Taiwan's arsenal.
According to the source, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) continued to make improvements to the Yunfeng and has officially named the missile the Ching Tien. Although the Ministry of National Defense has not released any official statements on it, the source said some have already been deployed by the Air Force's special missile brigade.
Taiwan's military also has the Hsiung Feng IIE which comes with Type A and Type B variants. Type A has a range of 500 km, while Type B has a range of 1,000 km, according to the source.
The two versions reportedly have different propulsion systems, with the Type B powered by a turbofan engine. Both Type A and Type B variants of the Hsiung Feng IIE have reportedly been mass-produced in batches and are in service with the Air Force's special missile brigade.
As for the extended-range Hsiung Feng IIE surface-to-surface cruise missile, it can target inland areas of China. It is currently in mass production and will be deployed in batches by the Air Force.
For the unnamed ballistic missile system, former head of the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) Kung Chia-cheng (龔家政) in his new memoir revealed that when Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was president, Taiwan developed ballistic missiles under the "Tien Kung Program." One of these missiles had a diameter of one meter and a height of 10 meters, making it Taiwan's first and largest ballistic missile.
According to Kung, it was successfully test-fired at the Jiupeng base in Pingtung County. He said it has two variants, Type A and B, with Type A having a range of 600 km and Type B having a range of more than 1,000 km.