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Taiwan to equip indigenous fighter jets with air-launched Hsiung Feng III missiles

New missile variant will boost nation's deterrence against Chinese attack

IDF fighter seen carrying Wan Chien cluster munitions. 

IDF fighter seen carrying Wan Chien cluster munitions.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Air Force is conducting operational evaluations of an air-launched Hsing Feng III anti-ship missile variant loaded on Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF), a high-level military official has said.

The domestically produced jets possess flight speeds with the initial velocity for launching the missiles. To alleviate the weight burden, two boosters originally outfitted on the Hsiung Feng III missiles have been removed, and the missile body has been moderately downsized and reduced in weight, Liberty Times reported.

The missile will enhance the IDF’s long-range precision attack capabilities against large Chinese vessels as well as serve as a deterrent against potential military threats from China. Much of the ongoing efforts of the missile's development are focused on fine-tuning, the official said.

The maximum payload capacity of an IDF is 4,000 kilograms. The weight of the new missile variant is approximately 1,300 kg, falling within the fighter jet’s payload range. However, developers are still striving to downsize and reduce the weight of the missile even further.

The standard range of the Hsiung Feng III missile is 150 kilometers, while the air-launched version has an estimated range of approximately 120 km. Considering the enhanced performance radius of the IDF fighter jets after upgrades, the missile meets the operational needs for defense in the Taiwan Strait.