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Taiwan Modifies Aircraft To Carry Anti Ship Missiles

File photo of a Hsiung Feng II missile.

Taipei (AFP) Dec 15, 2005
Taiwan has modified two locally manufactured aircraft to carry anti-ship missiles that could be used to attack rival China's main ports, a defence magazine said.

Two AT-3A Tsu Chiang aircraft "have been modified to carry either Harpoon or locally produced Hsiung Feng II (Brave Wind II) anti-ship missiles," Jane's Defense Weekly said in an article to be published on January 1.

The aircraft have been modified by their state-run manufacturer, the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, it said.

Sixty of the aircraft were originally designed and built as two-seater trainers for the Taiwan Air Force in the 1980s.

"If Taiwan chooses to convert significant numbers of AT-3A into AT-3K anti-ship missile platforms it will place China's major ports within Taiwan's range," the weekly said.

China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting Taiwan to seek more advanced weaponry to defend itself.

Relations between China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, have worsened since independence-leaning Chen Shui-bian was elected president in 2000. He was re-elected last year.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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