US 'murders' local defense industry: lawmaker
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The nation's self defense capability can not relay solely on the good will of the United States government, a ruling lawmaker warmed yesterday, after claiming that the military allegedly put off its domestically manufactured missile project just to make way for imported ones from the U.S..
January 3, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
During a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said the military recently decided to cut its mass production of the locally developed Wan Chien long-range air-to-surface missile (萬劍飛彈) to half of its original amount.
The decision was allegedly made after the U.S. announced a plan to sell Taiwan a total of 96 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) laser-guided bomb kits in 2011, Lin noted.
The KMT lawmaker said it is not uncommon for the U.S. to sell Taiwan armaments only after local military has made major breakthroughs in domestically built weaponry.
He called it an intentional move launched by Washington to “murder” Taipei's project in building its own weapons.
“The military has to be able to beef up the country's defense capability by itself instead of relying solely on the U.S's good will, which is very 'dangerous' for Taiwan,” he added.
Deputy Minister's Denial
Asked to comment, Deputy Defense Minister Kao Kuang-hsi (高廣圻), who fielded questions during the same session, denied the lawmaker's accusation.
Kao said the ministry has not made a final decision on whether to decrease the total amount of locally made Wan Chien long-range missiles.
The military will continue to push the missile project, he added.
He also assured that these Made in Taiwan missiles can be mounted on its Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) jets (經國號), that are currently being upgraded.
According to the Air Force, Wan Chien missiles have a range of 200 km or more, while the JDAM only has a stand-off range of around 8-24 km.
The JDAM reportedly could turn 500-pound bombs into precision-strike weapons and largely raise the local Air Force's capability to launch attacks on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Kao was in the Legislative Yuan yesterday to brief lawmakers regarding the latest updates in the military's ongoing plan to spend NT$17 billion upgrading 71 IDFs as part of a four-year project which began in 2009.
The Air Force currently has more than 130 IDFs.
The locally-built IDF “Ching-Kuo” fighters were developed and manufactured locally in 1988.
The aircraft was named after the late President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).