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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan begins building prototype missile boat

ROC Central News Agency

2012/11/05 13:28:51

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) A Taiwanese shipbuilding company commissioned by the Navy has begun building a prototype missile boat for Taiwan, as part of the country's efforts to counter the military threat from China, a defense official said Monday.

The prototype will be around 450 tons, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said in the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, but declined to discuss any further details of the project.

He was responding to a legislator's question on whether the prototype will be outfitted with locally developed anti-ship missiles, the Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) III and Hsiung Feng II, as reported in the local media.

The reports are not entirely true, Kao told the committee, in response to the question by Legislator Lin Chia-lung of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Indigenous weapons will be fitted on the prototype in order to beef up Taiwan's defense capabilities at a time when China is expanding its naval fleet and developing aircraft carriers, the minister said, but he did confirm whether the Hsiung Feng III and Hsiung Feng II missiles will be included.

Taiwan's Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co. began building the prototype missile boat earlier this month and is expected to complete the project in November 2014, according to the Navy.

With a range of about 150 kilometers, the supersonic Hsiung Feng III has been described as an "aircraft carrier killer." It is manufactured by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology in Taoyuan, the defense ministry's main research and development unit.

(By Elaine Hou)

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