Taiwan's 'Carrier Killer' Aims To Sink China's Carrier
By WENDELL MINNICK
TAIPEI - In the event of war, Taiwan plans to sink China's new aircraft carrier, the Varyag, with its new "aircraft carrier killer" missile, the ramjet-powered supersonic anti-ship cruise missile Hsiung Feng 3. The revelation was made Aug. 10 on the same day China launched the Varyag for its first sea trials.
The disclosure came during a preshow media tour of the biennial Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE). Journalists inspecting the Hsiung Feng 3 were shocked to see a large mural of the Varyag being attacked by three Hsiung Feng 3 missiles. Two of the missiles impact the carrier's starboard bow and starboard quarter, with a third missile is en route to the ship.
The mural was reminiscent of similar displays at the 2010 Zhuhai Airshow in China, where anti-ship missiles were depicted attacking and sinking U.S. aircraft carriers.
The unveiling of the display comes at an uncomfortable time for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou. Since coming into office in 2008, Ma has eased cross-Strait tensions and signed historic economic agreements with China.
Military officials denied that calling Hsiung Feng 3 the "aircraft carrier killer" or displaying a mural of a missile attack on the Varyag were intended to send Beijing a political message. In the past, the Taiwan military often used ambiguous phrases to describe the "enemy" without mentioning China. Therefore, the Hsiung Feng 3 display was out of synch with normal military protocol that avoids enraging China.
The military-run Chungshun Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) produces the Hsiung Feng family of anti-ship missiles, including the Tien Kung (Sky Bow) air defense missile and the Tien Chien (Sky Sword) missile.
CSIST is working on a highly classified missile system called the Hsiung Feng 2E, which is reportedly a land-attack cruise missile capable of hitting targets on mainland China. This missile has never been displayed to the public and the military refuses to discuss its existence. Another missile program considered secret is the Tien Chien 2A, which is reportedly an anti-radiation missile designed to destroy ground-based radar systems.
A CSIST official said the Hsiung Feng 3 has been outfitted on the 1101 and 1103 Perry-class frigates for testing. "We began building the Hsiung Feng III around five years ago."
The military might field the missile inland along the coast to fend off a Chinese invasion armada, he said. The Hsiung Feng 3 has a reported range of 130 kilometers.
Also on display at TADTE was the new Tien Kung 3 (Sky Bow) air defense missile. The Tien Kung is based on the U.S.-built Patriot missile defense system. Details of its probable deployment are classified.