Taiwan developing missiles and attack drones: Defense Ministry

According to a report by a Taiwanese military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology said, Taiwan is developing missiles that can attack enemy air bases and bring down cruise missiles and is developing drones that can target their firing locations.

In 2021, Taiwan approved $8.20 billion (T$240 billion) in extra military spending over the next five years following rising tensions with China. Chinese fighter jets have repeatedly flown through Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

Taiwan plans to at least double its yearly missile production capacity to close to 500 this year, said the Taiwanese Defence Ministry.

In a report to parliament National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology offered more details of what the missiles and drones it is developing could do in a war.

The Hsiung Sheng land-attack missile that it is developing, is likely to have a range of up to 1,000km, and will come in two versions: while 1 variant will be fitted with a high-explosive warhead to target bunkers and hardened command centres, the other will be fitted with “dispersal” munitions to take out airfield facilities.

According to Chieh Chung, a researcher at Taipei-based National Policy Foundation, the Hsiung Sheng could reach most bases in China, including those near Shanghai and Zhejiang.

“It could greatly boost the national army’s capacity to delay or paralyse the Communist forces’ pace of an invasion of Taiwan, making it hard for them to achieve a rapid war,” he said.

The advanced Sky Bow III surface-to-air missile has been designed to take down ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and fighter jets.

Taiwan plans on building four new facilities, including bases and repair plants for new drones by 2025.

Previously, the defence ministry had said, it planned on starting manufacturing of “attack drones” with an annual production target of 48 such aircraft.

Last month the defence ministry had said, the first batch of U.S.-made MQ-9 Reaper drones, which can be armed with missiles and can operate at long range, will enter into service in Taiwan by 2025.

Around 64% of Taiwan’s extra military spending, which came on top of planned military spending of T$471.7 billion for 2022, will be spent on anti-ship weapons such as land-based missile systems, including a T$148.9 billion plan to mass-produce homegrown missiles and “high-performance” ships.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has made modernising the military a top priority, and has backed defence projects including a new class of stealthy warship and home-grown submarines.

Tsai has championed the use of “asymmetric warfare” – developing high-tech, highly mobile weapons that are hard to destroy and can deliver precision attacks.

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