Taipei: Taiwan is developing a new mobile
version of its supersonic "aircraft carrier killer" missile, a
legislator said on Sunday, after China sparked regional concerns
with sea trials of its first carrier.
Research on the development of the land-based missile, a
variant of the existing Hsiungfeng (Brave Wind) III, is
underway, Lin Yu-fang, a legislator who sits on the national
defence committee, said.
"The new land-based version will have a longer range and
carry a heavier warhead," Lin said, comparing it to existing
navy ship-to-ship weaponry.
He said the new missile would be deployed on mobile
launchers to give it a higher chance of escaping Chinese
bombing raids in the event of war.
Journalists were last week allowed their first close look
at the original Hsiungfeng III ahead of the 2011 Taipei
Aerospace and Defence Technology Exhibition which closed
The rare public display of the weapon which researchers
have dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer" was the focus of
attention as China`s first aircraft carrier embarked on its
inaugural sea trial.
"The speed of the Hsiungfeng III is so fast that it is
very hard to defend against it," Chiang Wu-ying, deputy chief
of the missile research project, told reporters.
The Hsiungfeng III, already installed on Taiwanese
frigates and missile boats, is 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, analysts say.
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.