TAIPEI – A Taiwanese warship mistakenly launched a supersonic “aircraft carrier killer” missile toward China on Friday, the navy said, amid deteriorating ties between the island and its once-bitter rival.
The domestically developed Hsiung-feng III (Brave Wind) missile, with a range of 300 kilometers (around 200 miles), flew about 75 kilometers before plunging into waters off Penghu, a Taiwanese-administered island group in the Taiwan Strait.
The navy said it was not immediately clear how the missile had come to be launched, but suggested it could have been due to human error.
“Our initial investigation found that the operation was not done in accordance with normal procedure,” Vice Admiral Mei Chia-shu told reporters, adding that an investigation was under way.
The missile was fired during a drill at around 8:10 a.m. from a 500-ton missile ship docked at a naval base in the southern city of Tsoying, and flew in the direction of China.
Helicopters and navy ships were sent to search for the missile, Mei said, adding that the military had reported the gaffe to the island’s top security body, the National Security Conference.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles China policy, declined to say whether the incident had been reported to Beijing.
Ties between Taipei and Beijing have deteriorated noticeably since President Tsai Ing-wen of the China-skeptic Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected in January.
China still insists that self-ruling Taiwan is part of its territory, even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, and has not ruled out using force to bring about reunification.
Great going Taiwan you nearly started WWIII
Hsiung-feng III (Brave Wind) missile
The Hsiung Feng III (HF-3;Chinese: 雄風三型, “Brave Wind III”) is the third in the Hsiung Feng series of anti-ship missiles developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) in Taiwan. Very little is known about the HF-3, except that it is a Mach number 2 class supersonic speed anti-ship missile.
The HF-3 missile uses a rocket-ramjet propulsion system, with two side-by-side solid-propellant jettisonable strap-on rocket boosters for initial acceleration and a liquid-fueled ramjet (believed to be using JP-10 fuel) for sustained supersonic cruise. The missile features a wingless design with four strake intakes and four clipped delta control surfaces aft. The air intake design arrangement was reported to have been optimized for evasive maneuvering at terminal sea-skimming altitudes. The missile is designed to be capable of way-pointing and can be programmed to fly offset attack axes to saturate defenses. It is also capable of high-G lateral terminal “random weaving” maneuvers to evade close-in defenses.
The HF-3 missile uses an X band monopulse planar array active radar homingseeker evolved from that utilized by the HF-2 anti-ship missile series, but with improved digital signal processing and data-handling capabilities that address the shorter reaction time requirements available to a supersonic anti-ship missile. The missile ECCM‘s includes resistance to range gate pull-off (RGPO), and the missile’s maximum speed at low alttudes is reported to be in the range of Mach 2.3-2.7, with higher cruising speed at greater altitudes. The HF-3 uses a Self-Forging Fragment/SFF (i.e., Explosively Formed Projectile/EFP) warhead reported to be in the 225 kg (496 lb) weight class and designed to be triggered by a smart fuze that directs most of the explosive energy downward once it has detected that the missile is inside the target ship’s hull.
- Type: Anti-ship missile
- Range: 150–200 km (93–124 mi; 81–108 nmi)
- Flight altitude: 125 m – 250 m
- Power Plant: Rocket-Ramjet
- Top Speed: 2300 km/h
- Length: Approx. 6.096 m
- Diameter: 0.4572 m Missile Body Only
- Weight: 3,000-3,300 lbs
- Guidance: Inertial guidance with (X Band) terminal active radar homing
- Date Deployed: 12/2007 250 Units – approved for official low rate production as of 1/2008