Diaoyu Islands

Taiwan tests 'carrier killer' missile, newspaper report says

Report says weapon's 400-kilometre range means it can reach disputed Diaoyus

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 3:58am

Taiwan tested its longest-range ship-to-ship missile within a month of the mainland putting its first aircraft carrier into service, Taiwanese media said.

Dubbed an "aircraft carrier killer", the missile has a range of 400 kilometres and is capable of achieving Mach 3, the Taipei-based United Daily News said, quoting an unnamed military source.

"The Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology finished a series of tests off Taiwan last month," the paper said, in reference to Taiwan's arms development unit. "No ship is capable of withstanding its high-velocity impact."

Beijing put its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, into service in late September. The US Defence Department said the ship, a refurbished Soviet vessel, was the first step towards building a PLA carrier fleet.

Taiwan's defence ministry declined to comment on the missile report. But a military source said that the missile - once deployed on a naval vessel that had left Keelung Harbour in northern Taiwan - can strike any target within a 200-kilometre radius, including the disputed Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands.

The missile could also reach as far as the coastal areas of Zhejiang province on the mainland, the source said.

The missile was described as a long-range variant of the Hsiung Feng III, already installed on Taiwanese frigates and missile boats and designed to achieve Mach 2, with a maximum range of up to 130 kilometres.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved significantly since the mainland-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became the island's president in 2008. Ma was re-elected in January for a second and final four-year term.