Taiwanese Air Force test-fires locally made cruise missiles

Taiwan's newly upgraded FC-1K Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) will be equipped with four Wan Chien stand-off attack missiles, capable of attacking targets at 200 km range. The '1553B' marked on the fuselage could indicate the weapon's ability to receive in-flight updates from the fighter's databus before the weapon is launched. Photo: RoCAF

TAIPEI (GDC) — A two-seater Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) from the Air Force’s First Fighter Wing on Wednesday (Nov. 11) took off from Tainan to carry out a test firing of the domestically built Wan Chien cruise missile, learned GDC citing Taiwan News.

The missile test was conducted after the Air Force’s Third Fighter Wing, based at Taichung’s Ching Chuan Kang Air Force Base, carried out a similar trial. Wednesday’s test involved a high-altitude launch, and the missile was tracked after it was fired. An accompanying aircraft monitored the entire process to ensure the test was successful.

Both the First and Third fighter wings that operate the IDF can be armed with the domestic cruise missile. So-armed, the wings are capable of attacking important military installations along the coast of China, Liberty Times reported.

The Wan Chien missile, which was designed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), has repeatedly been verified for combat firing and fulfilled the Air Force’s operational performance requirements. The missile has a maximum range of approximately 200 kilometers and is currently being mass-produced. It has the ability to strike airports, bases, and troop assembly areas along the southeast coast of China.

Military officials revealed that the code name during development and initial production of the Wan Chien missile was “Project God’s Axe”.

The NCSIST is now continuing research on a longer-range version of the missile. With an estimated range of more than 400 kilometers, the newer version will help deter a Chinese attack.

In recent years Taiwan has enhanced its capabilities to conduct standoff attacks inside mainland China. Among the weapons that have reached maturity are the Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM), developed by CSIST, the submarine launched UGM-84L land and naval attack Harpoon delivered by the USA. In the F-16 modernization plan discussed with the USA, Taiwan will receive a variety of air/ground weapons, including GPS guided and laser guided bombs but its arsenal does not include standoff weapons capable of reaching China.

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