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Taiwan to Develop Air-Launched Variant of HF-3 Supersonic Missile

Taiwan will begin the development of an air-launched variant of the Hsiung Feng-3 (HF-3) supersonic anti-ship missile at an estimated cost of over $314 million.  

The “Hsiung Chih” missile will be carried by the country’s indigenous IDF fighter jets. Once developed, the weapon will be Taiwan’s first anti-ship missile fired from land, sea, and air.

Development is expected to take five years.

The upgrade on the existing, ship-borne variant involves a weight reduction to 950 kilograms (2,094 pounds). The upgrade will, however, reduce fuel capacity and range.

Earlier in January 2019, Taiwan upgraded its HF-3 missile with improved survivability, range, and payload capacity. It launched the missile from a brand new Tuo Chiang stealth corvette.

Missile development began with critical technology research in 1994 and the first flight test in 1997. The Taiwan Navy finished its initial operational test and evaluation in 2005.

About HF-3

The HF-3 is a third-generation anti-ship missile developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology after the HF I and HF II. The difference between earlier versions and HF-3 is that the latter uses a ramjet engine as its propulsion system, thus increasing the missile’s speed substantially.

The weapon has a range of over 100 kilometers (62 miles) and can switch to an inertial navigation system in mid-flight. It also has an active radar seeker during the terminal guidance phase and is capable of navigation, flight control, target search, and cruise control.

The missile system is currently deployed on the Jin Chiang class patrol gunboat and Cheng Kung class frigate.

Record Defense Budget for 2022

Taiwan has significantly increased its defense spending, focusing heavily on indigenous weapon development amid increasing threats from China.

Last week, Taiwan passed an $8.6 billion special budget to procure weapons for the next five years. The country has already allocated a record annual defense budget of over $17 billion for this year.

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