Taiwan Military Expands Missile Deployment
By WENDELL MINNICK
PENGHU ISLAND – Taiwan’s Navy is outfitting eight Cheng Kung-class (Perry-class) frigates with a new “aircraft carrier killer” anti-ship cruise missile, the Hsiung Feng 3 (Brave Wind 3).
For the first time, foreign journalists were allowed to inspect a ship outfitted with the new missile at Magong Naval Base on the main island of the Penghu Archipelago, located off the western coast of Taiwan, on Sept. 29.
The ramjet-powered supersonic HF-3 is the latest in the Hsiung Feng family of missiles developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology. The Hsiung Feng 3 has a reported range of 300 kilometers. The Navy conducted a missile drill onboard the 1103 Cheng Ho outfitted with two HF-2 and two HF-3 missiles. A Navy official said all eight frigates would be outfitted with the new HF-3 and that, at present, only three, including the 1101 Cheng Kung and 1109 Chang Chien, had the missile.
“The Navy is in the process of outfitting all the ships with the missile,” he said.
Taiwan’s state-owned China Shipbuilding Corp. built all eight frigates in the 1990s, and they were initially outfitted with eight HF-2 missiles. At present, all the ships are outfitted with the Standard SM-1MR surface-to-air missile, and the Mk 31 and Mk 46 torpedo. All eight Perry-class frigates make up the 146 Squadron at Penghu.
Taiwan first revealed the HF-3 during a Ten-Ten Parade in 2007 and later unveiled it as the “aircraft carrier killer” at an exhibit at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition on Aug. 10.
Penghu is a critical chess piece in any conflict with China. The archipelago has numerous defense facilities designed to deter an attack on Taiwan. These include a signals intelligence and long-range radar facility, a Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile base, and the Magong Air Base Command, which fields detachments of Indigenous Defense Fighter aircraft from April to October.
The military would not confirm suspicions that it has an HF-2 coastal battery on Hujing Islet and a Tien Kung 2 (Sky Bow 2) long-range surface-toair missile silo base on Baisha Islet near Tongliang.
The only other outer island that has the Tien Kung 2 is on Dongying Island, located north of Matsu Island near the coast of China. Both bases restrict Chinese air power in the northern and southern approaches in the Taiwan Strait.
The Chungshan Institute is working on a highly classified missile system called the Hsiung Feng 2E, a land-attack cruise missile (LACM) that can hit mainland China. There are elements within Taiwan’s military pushing for the placement of HF-2E LACM on Penghu. With a range of 600 kilometers, the LACM could hit targets along China’s coast.