Military pledges review after 2nd missile test flop since Jan.
AFP and CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan's Air Force said Wednesday that two out of four missiles missed their targets during a drill earlier this week, two months after a similar failure left military leaders red-faced.
March 24, 2011, 11:55 pm TWN
The missiles that failed in Monday's test included a U.S.-made Sparrow and a French-made Mica, said Air Force spokesman Pan Kung-shiao.
“Our procedure was correct, and we will review this with the French and the U.S. sides that made the missiles,” he told AFP.
Details of this week's test at an airbase in southern Taiwan were kept confidential until after it had been carried out.
It followed a live-fire maneuver attended by the press in January, in which six out of 19 missiles missed their targets or failed to explode.
Defense minister Kao Hua-chu Wednesday told parliament that problems could have been due to both human and mechanical errors as the drills involved the use of target drones in simulated war scenarios and promised to launch a “comprehensive review.” The review will cover areas such as personnel qualifications, ammunition storage and ammunition lifespan, he said.
But his answer apparently did not convince the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.
“The second failure shows that the military still hasn't got to the root of the problems. The defense minister owes the public an explanation,” said Cheng Wen-tsang, a spokesman for the party.
The previous flop earned the armed forces rare criticism from an irate President Ma Ying-jeou, who urged the military to practice more.
The issue came to wide attention after six out of 19 missiles fired in a Jan. 18 exercise, three of which were Sparrows, missed their targets.
According to Air Force Chief of Staff Wang Cheng-hsiao, after the test firing in January, the military made corrections based on recommendations by the U.S. and French manufacturers.
The military will make further expert assessments of the outcome of the latest tests, he added.