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Taiwan wants to purchase U.S. Arms with New Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile


Taiwan’s officials have confirmed that the Ministry of National Defense plans to buy land-based Boeing-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles as part of its military modernisation efforts, the latest purchase from the United States to deal with a rising threat from China.
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Taiwan wants to purchase U.S. Arms with New Harpoon Anti Ship Missile 925 001 A Republic of China Navy Hsiung Feng II/III Anti-Ship Missile Launchers on a military vehicle at Zuoying Naval Base, China (Picture source: Wikimedia)


At a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Deputy Minister of National Defense Chang Che-ping confirmed that Taiwan was planning to buy Harpoon missiles from the United States to serve as a coastal defence cruise missile.

Taipei will still have to make a formal request to Washington, but if the United States agrees to sell the Harpoons, Taiwan should receive them in 2023, Chang added.

The United States already has exported weapons to Taiwan annually for more than 70 years. Since 2008, the United States has sold more than $24 billion in arms to Taiwan, including fighter aircraft, tanks, and missiles.


Taiwan wants to purchase U.S. Arms with New Harpoon Anti Ship Missile 925 002USS Coronado, a US Navy littoral combat ship, launches a Harpoon missile (Picture source: US Navy)


Why the Harpoon Missiles?

Harpoon missiles are similar to the Taiwanese weapons, although the Hsiung Feng II has greater range and faster cruising speed, CSIST president Art Chang said, adding that the truck-borne Harpoons allow for comparatively greater mobility than the Hsiung Feng II, which needs to be towed.

Taiwan has also developed its Hsiung Feng III, a supersonic missile that uses solid-fuel propellant as a booster and liquid fuel to power a ramjet. It was originally conceived as an anti-ship missile, but its range is limited to just 75 to 90 miles. With that in mind, Taipei has taken another look at the American Harpoon—and it isn’t the only power in Asia that sees the potential of the ageing U.S. missile platform.


Taiwan wants to purchase U.S. Arms with New Harpoon Anti Ship Missile 925 003 A view of an RGM-84 surface-to-surface Harpoon missile, immediately after leaving a canister launcher aboard the cruiser USS LEAHY (CG-16), near the Pacific Missile Test Center, Calif (Picture source: Wikipedia)


About the Harpoon Missile:

The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile. Its low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory, active radar guidance and warhead design assure high survivability and effectiveness.

To strike targets on land and ships in port, the missile uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit a designated target aimpoint. The 227-kilogram blast warhead delivers lethal firepower against a wide variety of land-based targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port.