Disguised missile truck revealed by military fans: report
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- An object believed to be carrying Taiwan's latest cruise missile was unintentionally photographed by Google Maps satellites and identified yesterday by avid military fans on the Internet.
February 5, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
The picture of the missile, which is seen mounted on a truck-based launching platform, was captured by satellite as it traveled in the northern mountainous regions. The vehicle was disguised as a container truck. The image of a red bird is seen on the side of the vehicle as well as the markings “express delivery.”
The camouflage, however, did not fool sharp-eyed military enthusiasts on the Internet. A number of witnesses confirmed sightings of a truck bearing the same decal near routes to the Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology (中山科學研究院), which has a ballistics armaments division near Longtan County (龍潭).
Internet commentators have claimed that the missile may be the Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E, 雄風二E), a land-attack cruise missile that was rumored to have completed its first test flights in 2007, and has remained largely elusive to the public since then.
Commissioned in 2008 with a budget of NT$30 billion, the HF-2E is scheduled for full deployment next year.
The HF-2E is similar in design to the U.S. Navy's RGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile. It has a range of 600 kilometers, advanced guidance systems capable of precision attacks within 12 meters and has a warhead payload of 200 kilograms.
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday refused to comment on the issue.