Military not producing 'blackout bombs': MND official
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) A Ministry of National Defense (MND) official confirmed Monday that Taiwan has conducted research on graphite bombs, but added that the ministry has no plans to produce them.
Fielding questions at the Legislative Yuan, Wu Wei-jung, director of the MND Armament Bureau, said the research on the non-lethal graphBte bombs -- capable of disabling electrical power infrastructure -- is not aimed at offense, but is part of a study to find out how serious the damage could be if a big city like Taipei were to be attacked with graphite bombs, also known as "blackout bombs."
Wu made the remarks in response to an inquiry by opposition Kuomintang Legislator Lee Ching-hua, who quoted the United Daily News as reporting Sunday that the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology -- Taiwan's top arms research unit -- will begin developing the submunitions at a cost of up to NT$500 million (US$15.34 million), from next year.
Should war break out, the bombs would be carried by Hsiung Feng-2E cruise missiles and used to paralyze the power systems of China's southeastern coastal cities, according to the report. The bombs work by sprinkling a cloud of chemically treated carbon fiber over power supplies, causing them to short-circuit without killing people, it reported.
Wu said these submunitions were used for the first time in May 1999 as part of Operation Allied Force strikes against Serbia. Following these attacks, lights went out over 70 percent of the country.
Wu stressed that to date, the MND has no plans to produce the graphite bombs, since their effects are largely confined to targeted electrical power facilities, with minimal risk of collateral damage.
(By Deborah Kuo)
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