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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
Taiwan's Guided Cluster Bomb Enters Service

24/09/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


The Republic of China (Taiwanese) Air Force will soon be equipped with smart munitions and potentially be using them to defend itself against China, according to local media reports.


Should China strike its transport infrastructure, Taiwan's 'Wan Chien' (Ten Thousand Swords) weapons will be ready to retaliate, it's claimed. The US - previously a major source of arms imports - wouldn't make its smart bombs available to Taiwan, hence the initiation and development of the country's own guided weapons programme.


The Taiwanese media reports that 60 Republic of China Air Force combat aircraft will be carrying Wan Chien weapons by January 2013, although no official word has yet emerged from the nation's defence ministry.


Wan Chien Cluster Bomb


The Wan Chien cluster bomb shares some elements in common with the AGM-154 JSOW (Joint Stand-Off Weapon). Aircraft-launched, it has a range of up to 250 kilometres, a length of around 4.5 metres and boasts a 350 kilogram warhead.


It is likely that the Wan Chien bombs will equip the Republic of China Air Force's AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo combat aircraft. This indigenous multirole-capable air superiority fighter first flew in 1989 and entered service five years later. 130 examples of it were built, primarily for the Republic of China Air Force.


Taiwanese Bombs Into Service


When the Taiwanese bombs go into service, these fighters will be able to strike mainland China without having to actually overfly Chinese territory, according to military analysts.


Despite past relationship strains, Taiwan and China have actually been getting on better in recent years. Even so, China still seeks ownership of Taiwan and has not ruled out obtaining it through forceful means, if necessary. Indeed, Taiwanese military experts believe China has some 1,600 missiles permanently pointed Taiwan's way.


The Republic of China Air Force is tasked with defending Taiwan's airspace. Active since 1920, the air arm is equipped with a multitude of aircraft types including F-16 Fighting Falcon and Mirage 2000 fighters and C-130 Hercules transporters. The Wan Chien guided cluster bombs join a weapons inventory that already includes AIM-120 AMRAAMs, AIM-9 Sidewinders and AGM-65 Mavericks

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
Taiwan Develops 'Smart' Munitions Against China: Report

Sep. 21, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s air force will be armed with “smart” munitions before the year’s end that could be used against any Chinese invasion by striking airfields and harbors on the mainland, media reported Saturday.


The new weaponry, developed under a project codenamed “Wan Chien” (Ten Thousand Swords), is scheduled to be carried by dozens of Taiwan’s fighter jets.


The island nation began developing its own smart weapons after the United States — Taiwan’s main arms supplier — refused to sell it guided bombs.


Taiwan’s air force plans to upgrade 60 fighters before the year’s end, with the last six being refitted and scheduled to be completed in December, the Taipei-based China Times reported.


The defense ministry declined to comment on the report.


The new weaponry will enable Taiwanese fighter jets to hit Chinese targets from a distance and reduce the risk of having to fly over mainland territory, analysts say.


The weapons, an equivalent of the US-developed joint direct attack munition (JDAM) that converts unguided bombs into all-weather “smart” munitions, is designed to target harbors, missile and radar bases, as well as troop build-ups prior to any invasion of the island, they say.


Each kit carries more than 100 warheads capable of blowing dozens of small craters in airport runways, making them impossible to use, they say.


The China Times said the refusal to sell JDAMs to Taiwan by United States had prompted the island to develop the offensive weapon on its own.


Ties between Taiwan and its giant neighbor have improved significantly since the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang government took power in Taipei in 2008. Ma was re-elected in January 2012.


But China still considers the island part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, prompting Taipei to seek more advanced defense weaponry, mainly from the United States.


Taiwanese experts estimate the People’s Liberation Army has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island.

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