Taiwan says it wants long-range cruise missiles from the United States

Taipei — Taiwan is trying to get a long-range air-launched cruise missile from the United States as China’s alleged island is strengthening its army in the face of rising pressure from Beijing, defense officials said Monday. Said to.

Taiwan is developing its own long-range missiles, but is also looking to the United States to support the provision of more advanced weapons to give it the ability to counterattack deep into China during the war.

He asked Congress about the weapons system that Taiwan wanted to buy, but said the United States couldn’t buy it yet. Lee Shi-chan, head of the Taiwan Ministry of Defense’s Strategic Planning Division, named it Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158.

“We are still looking for it,” Lee said from the United States. “The communication channel is very smooth and normal.”

He didn’t elaborate.

The AGM-158 JASSM (short for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) has a range of approximately 1,000 km (621 miles) depending on the model and can be fixed to aircraft including the F-16 operated by Taiwan.

Lockheed Martin says the missiles are high-value, well-protected, fixed, and designed to destroy relocatable targets, enough distance to keep the launch aircraft far enough away from enemy air defense systems. It is said to be fired at.

China has stepped up its military operations near Taiwan as it seeks to force the Taipei government to accept Beijing’s claim of sovereignty.

Taiwan’s military, dwarfed by China, is in the midst of a modernization program that provides more effective deterrence, including the ability to counterattack bases far from China’s coast in the event of a conflict. ..

Taiwanese troops have traditionally focused on protecting the island from Chinese attacks.

However, President Tsai Ing-wen emphasized the importance of developing “asymmetric” deterrents using mobile devices that are difficult to find and destroy and can attack targets far from Taiwan.

Washington, Taipei’s leading foreign weapons supplier, was keen to build a military equilibrium with the Chinese army based on what is known within the Pentagon as the “Taiwan Fortress.”

Beijing considers Taiwan a sovereign territory of China and has never abandoned the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Ben Blanchard