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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taiwan depicts HF-3 as a 'carrier killer'

By J Michael Cole

The Taiwanese military cast aside its usual timidity on 10 August and displayed a model of its Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) 'Brave Wind' anti-ship missile to a backdrop of a burning aircraft carrier that bore a striking resemblance to China's refitted ex-Soviet aircraft carrier (formerly Varyag ), which embarked on its maiden voyage earlier in the day.

The HF-3 exhibit at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), which opens on 11 August and runs until 14 August, was the highlight of the pre-show visit organised for reporters.

The HF-3, a ramjet-powered supersonic anti-ship missile, can be launched from land- and surface platforms, such as Taiwan's Perry-class frigates. The 130-km-range, single-warhead missile has been in development at the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) since 1995. It entered production around 2007 and is believed to have entered service the following year.

The CSIST is administered by the Ministry of National Defense's Armaments Bureau.

Asked to confirm how many missiles were currently in production or had been deployed with the Taiwanese navy, Chiang Wu-ing, deputy director of the Hsiung Feng programme at CSIST, declined to provide figures.

While the HF-3 has been on display at previous trade shows and national parades, this was the first time it was shown in a context that prominently identified its intended target. Although no flag or ensign could be seen on the computer-generated rendition of the carrier and accompanying fleet, its 'ski jump' ramp and general outlook bore an obvious resemblance to Varyag

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