Taiwan Tests Missiles Able to Strike Chinese Airfields

A military affairs magazine in Taiwan says authorities there have tested a missile system that would allow Taiwan to remotely attack Chinese air bases and other sites to head off an attack.

Defense Technology Monthly says the system, known as "Wan Chien" or "Ten Thousand Swords," carries up to 100 secondary warheads on each missile, enabling it to pockmark an airstrip with potholes, making it unusable.

It says the missiles also are "immensely lethal" when used against troop massing sites or loading areas at ports.

The magazine quotes a ruling party legislator (Lin Yu-fang) saying the system passed its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in the first half of this year. He does not say how soon it could be deployed.

The lawmaker also says Taiwan developed the system because the United States would not sell it weapons with similar capabilities.

China-Taiwan relations have improved dramatically in recent years, but Taiwan still is anxious about Beijing's rapid military build-up. It said last month the mainland has more than 1,400 missiles facing the island across the Taiwan Strait.

The military magazine says the Wan Chien system, if deployed, would enable Taiwan to challenge a Chinese military attack at the source without requiring its pilots to fly deep into Chinese airspace and confront the enemy's air defense systems.

Some information for this report was provided by defense technology monthly and AFP.