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Taiwan said to begin cluster bomb production in 2015

2013/10/01 22:34:22

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) Mass production of a cluster bomb developed in Taiwan will begin in 2015, one to two years ahead of schedule, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Based on a recent briefing he received from defense officials, Lin Yu-fang said the mass production will begin in 2015 now that work on system integration between the Wan Chien -- "Ten Thousand Swords" in Chinese -- and the indigenous Ching-kuo fighter jet was completed last March.

Moving the schedule forward represents a saving of nearly NT$2 billion (US$67.79 million) in taxpayers' money, he said in a press release, without giving details on how such a saving will be achieved.

Lin, a veteran member of the Legislative Yuan representing the ruling Kuomintang, has been a long-time supporter of building strong national defenses for Taiwan.

A weapon designed mainly to destroy airfields, the Wan Chien is developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology under the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

With a range of up to over 200 km, the bomb can be launched from the air over the Taiwan Strait to target troop concentrations, harbors and defense positions, as well as airstrips, on the Chinese mainland, said Lin.

Forty jets of the Ching-kuo fighter air wing based in Tainan have been retrofitted and are now capable of firing the weapon, he said. With the other air wing based in Taichung also going through the retrofit process, all the fighter jets are expected to be Wang Chien-capable by early 2017, he added.

The MND had no immediate comments on Lin's statement.

(By Claudia Liu and Jay Chen)
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