Taiwan tests secret missile, capable of targeting China

According to local media sources, Taiwanese military forces have successfully tested their domestically produced cruise missile, the Hsiung Feng IIE.
Christopher McFadden
Screenshot from local media video of Taiwanese cruise missile launch.


On Wednesday, August 16, 2023, Taiwanese armed forces reportedly test-fired a domestically produced land attack cruise missile. As reported by local media sources, the missile may have been the Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E), though this has not been officially confirmed. This missile has been in service for around a decade but has never been publicly revealed.

Never publicly unveiled

United Daily News (UDN) reported that the test launch occurred at the Jiupeng military base in Pingtung. The UDN report includes footage purported to be the missile and reports that it flew for over an hour, achieving all its mission objectives. The missile launch was launched as part of a three-day live-fire exercise that included fighter jets firing air-to-air missiles.

The Air Force's main fighter jets, including Mirage-2000s, IDFs, and F-16Vs, fired various missiles during the exercise. Naval and Coast Guard vessels also participated. The military has not confirmed if the missile fired on Wednesday was an HF-2E. However, Su Tzu-yun, a scholar with the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), stated that he believed the missile was an HF-2E.

He stated that his opinion was based on the UDN-released video clip, which displayed a two-stage ignition process of the missile, along with the report that claimed the missile flew for almost an hour.

The Taiwanese military developed the HF-2 missile in the early 2000s, apparently inspired by the US Tomahawk missile. Developed secretly, the missile's existence was recently made public in a report sent to lawmakers in March 2022 (but not on display). The same report revealed that Taiwan will be able to produce 131 HF-2 and HF-2E (extended-range) missiles annually after expanding its manufacturing capacity in 2024.

The missile has two versions: baseline and extended range. The baseline has a range of 186 miles (300km) to 372 miles (600 km), while the extended range can strike targets up to 932 miles (1,500 km) away. The Drive reported that the warheads consist of 1,000-pound and 440-pound unitary high-explosive types, with at least one being a hard target penetrator or bunker buster type. It has also been suggested that a cluster munitions warhead may have been produced.

Very sophisticated missile

HF-2E variants reportedly use GPS-assisted inertial navigation system guidance and terrain contour matching (TERCOM) to improve precision and fly lower, making it less vulnerable to enemy defenses. It also features an imaging infrared seeker, found in other land attack cruise missiles like the US Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and Storm Shadow, as well as newer Tomahawks.

The Ministry of National Defense did not disclose the number of HF-2E produced. Still, it stated that it will be capable of manufacturing 131 HF-2 and HF-2E annually, starting in 2024, upon expanding its facilities.

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