Taiwan has deployed a powerful multiple-launch rocket system on an offshore island to guard against any amphibious landing by the mainland, local media reported yesterday. The weapon, called Ray Ting 2000 or "Thunder 2000", went into service for the first time on Matsu island and could reach Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait, said the United Evening News citing sources. The defence ministry declined to comment. The system can launch 40 rockets in a minute with a range of 45 kilometres, the report said. "Thunder 2000" was expected to enhance the military's anti-landing capabilities, as it phases out the current rocket system introduced three decades ago, military experts said. They said the longer range rockets could destroy landing craft before they reached the shore, while the truck-mounted launchers could be combat ready in eight minutes, less than half the time of the current system. The ministry reportedly plans to produce more than 50 such systems at a cost of NT$14.5 billion (HK$3.7 billion). The mainland and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war, with the defeated Nationalists retreating to the island. Ties have improved since 2008, when a Beijing-friendly government came to power in Taipei. Beijing, however, still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification.