Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taiwan Says Early Warning Radar Tests Underway

TAIPEI - Taiwan said Nov. 10 it has started testing a billion-dollar early warning radar system, designed to give an extra six minutes' warning of any Chinese missile attack, which is nearing completion.
Deputy Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang said the installation of the state-of-the-art, long-range radar system, supplied by defense giant Raytheon, has entered its final stage.
"The radar system has undergone initial tests lately," Chao said in response to a question in parliament.
"And the results showed that it has successfully linked to the Patriot anti-missile units and the Heng Shan military command," he said, referring to the emergency military command center in the capital Taipei.
Construction of the ultra-high-frequency radar - delayed for three years, partly due to the collapse of the road to the mountainous construction site - will be finished next year, the state Central News Agency said.
"This is the most advanced system of its kind in the world. ... It is crucial as the Chinese communists are aiming at Taiwan with more than 1,000 ballistic missiles," Chao said, adding it is also capable of detecting cruise missiles.
Critics say the system, which will cost more than 30 billion Taiwan dollars ($1 billion), is too costly given it will only provide six more minutes of warning.
Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang Party came to power in 2008, promising to boost trade links and allow more Chinese tourists to visit the island. But Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting Taipei to seek more advanced weapons, largely from the United States.

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