Taiwan to produce airstrip-targeting missiles

File photo

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The R.O.C. military is scheduled to start mass production of the locally developed "Wan Chien" long-range air-to-surface missile system in 2015, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Quoting unidentified military sources, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang said yesterday that if all goes as planned, the deployment of the new missile system will be completed in early 2017.

By then, all 127 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) will be upgraded to mount the Taiwan-made missiles, Lin said.

Sources indicate the military has completed its analysis of the mass production of the missile. The project is currently under final review and may win final approval by the end of this year, Lin said.

The new missile is being developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology.

Lin said that the Wan Chien missile was designed mainly to strike airstrips in mainland China's southeastern provinces.

The long-range missiles could also cause significant damage to mainland Chinese troops, harbors, missiles and radar installations located at the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait, he said.

According to the Air Force, Wan Chien missiles have a maximum range of 200 km or more.

The long range means R.O.C. fighter jets will not need to launch the missiles in mainland Chinese airspace.

The weapon can be launched at a distance from targets, enabling Taiwan's fighter jets to avoid risking defensive anti-aircraft fire from mainland China when launching the new armaments, Lin said.