Chingtien No. 1
In 1999 is was reported tha a multipurpose missile-carrying vehicle was under development at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST), a research facility run by the military. The CIST project, named Chingtien No. 1, had been developed in secret over several years, with partial results unveiled to the media for the first time in 1999.
The project is aimed at developing a supersonic surface-to-surface, anti-aircraft and anti-missile missile using the multi-purpose missile-carrying vehicle, which features adjustable payload capability. If a supersonic surface-to-surface missile can be developed from this project, all China's navel vessels cruising the Taiwan Strait, as well as in China's coastal waters, will be within the range. It will also be very effective against an amphibious landing by Chinese troops.
Besides having anti-ship capabilities, the vehicle will also have surface-to-air capability -- including aircraft and missiles -- depending on its payload and radar guidance system. Maximum speed is said to be around six Mach.
But the CIST had yet to make a technology breakthrough in the terminal guidance system for the project. Without such a breakthrough, Taiwan will still have to seek help from other countries, especially the US. The main problem for the project at the moment is the enormous size of the missile's booster rocket, which makes it too large to be used from ships or fighter planes. CIST now trying to reduce the size of the rocket so that the missiles can be fired from land or by aircraft.
With a supersonic surface-to-surface missile in use, China's fleet, including two advanced Sovremenny-class destroyers to be bought from Russia, will become easy prey. Taiwan's fleet will be virtually defenseless in an attack by the Russian-made supersonic Sunburn anti-ship missiles, which are to be installed on the Sovremenny destroyers.
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