Taiwan deploys supersonic anti-ship missiles

Taiwan has deployed a new supersonic missile on its warships in the latest response to China`s rapid naval expansion.

Taipei: Taiwan has deployed a new
supersonic missile on its warships in the latest response to
China`s rapid naval expansion, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

Military authorities are also mulling deploying the
Hsiung Feng III -- the first locally developed supersonic
anti-ship missile -- on mobile launchers, Lin Yu-fang, of the
Kuomintang party, said in a statement quoting Vice Admiral Lee
Hao.

"Several types of warships have been armed with Hsiung
Feng IIIs (Brave Wind)," the statement said.

It was not clear how many missiles will be produced,
but according to Lin, eight Perry-class frigates and seven
patrol boats will be fitted with the weapon in the USD
11.89 billion (USD 413 million) project.

Analysts say Hsiung Feng III, designed to cruise at a
maximum speed of mach 2.0, or twice the speed of sound, with a
range of up to 130 kilometres (80 miles), are difficult to
defend against.

Taiwan`s defence ministry has expressed alarm at
China`s naval buildup although experts say it may still take
time for the People`s Liberation Army to operate its first
carrier group complete with fighter jets.

Tsai Teh-sheng, head of Taiwan`s National Security
Bureau, confirmed last month that the "Varyag," a
half-completed Soviet era aircraft carrier Beijing obtained in
1998, is expected to make its maiden voyage before the end of
the year.

Tsai said the warship will have "certain combat
capability" and will serve as a base for China`s home-grown
fighter jets which are modelled on Russian-made Su-33s.
Taiwan plans to build a new `stealth` warship armed
with guided-missiles next year in response, military officers
have said.

PTI