A Taiwanese Air Force official has claimed that a Patriot PAC-3 missile malfunctioned during a recent live-fire drill, but US manufacturer Lockheed Martin said the missile involved was not a PAC-3.
Air Force Chief of Staff General Tsao Chin-Ping confirmed local reports that the surface-to-air weapon exploded before hitting its target.
This is reportedly the first time a Patriot missile has prematurely exploded in the island nation.
Tsao said the air force and the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology are now investigating the cause of the explosion.
Regarded as the US Army’s most advanced air defense system, the Patriot utilizes advanced “hit-to-kill” technology to defeat high-performance aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles.
Two Firing Problems in Two Weeks
Last week, the Taiwanese Air Force revealed that one of its F-16 jets badly missed its target during a training session in waters near the Jioupeng military base.
The aircraft reportedly dropped a 907-kilogram MK-84 bomb too close to a crewed coast guard vessel, creating a powerful shock wave.
Several coast guard members on the ship sought medical attention because of the incident.
Tsao disclosed that the air force apologized to the Taiwanese Coast Guard and vowed to punish the F-16 pilot and his instructor for failing to supervise the drill properly.