Defense chief defends missile test results
The China Post news staffThe China Post news staff -- Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said that it is rather difficult for every fired missile to hit the bull's eye. But he also stressed there is definitely room for improvement and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has been reviewing the lower-than-expected missile performance to intercept and destroy simulated enemy targets in a recent live-fire air defense drill.
January 29, 2011, 11:34 pm TWN
Kao made the remarks yesterday when asked by reporters to comment on the reasons behind the below-par performance of the sophisticated missiles.
He said the MND is aware of the high expectations from the people. However, there is no assurance for all missiles to hit the targets as hoped, he said.
The test-fire results more than a week ago were still generally acceptable, although efforts should be made for improvement, he said.
Kao said his ministry has held meetings to discuss and search for the reasons behind the results of the live-fire exercises.
The Youth Daily newspaper run by the MND reported in prominent space yesterday that the initial findings showed “there were no obvious defects concerning the training of the missile operators” while factors like ammunition inside the missile, frequency control and monitoring at the test zone, and tests concerning atmospheric factors are still under review.
Quoting sources at the assistant defense minister's office supervising battling and planning at the MND, the daily said there are too many variable factors in Taiwan's airspace, including limited area, high frequency of aviation activities, and the necessary compromise with situations at the training base plus other natural factors like the altitude of clouds and constantly changing speeds of winds.
The sources said various types of missiles have an average of 70 to 85 percent chance to hit the targets based on different missile guide principles and systems. This is why it has become a normal practice to fire two missiles at one same target, but even such tactic still cannot guarantee 100 percent chance to destroy the set target, said the sources.
Minister Kao told reporters that a formal report will come out after the forthcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.
Concerning his possible personal movement in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle, Kao said all he cares about is striving for the MND's best effort to fulfill its duty of defending the nation and its people.
Kao said he never attempted to choose or hang onto any specific positions since being appointed a platoon leader with the rank of second lieutenant decades ago.
There can be casual chances for a person to take up certain positions at different periods of time, but it is definitely a sure-fire development for all position holders to eventually leave their posts, he said.
Kao was just discharged from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) following surgery to remove the cancerous tissues in his lung.
Premier Wu Den-yih has recently revealed a new Cabinet reshuffle plan. Local media speculated that the latest personnel change could affect at least four or five Cabinet officials.