Taiwan’s Defense Ministry is allocating over US$426 million (NT$12.4 billion) to upgrade country’s Yun Feng or "Cloud Peak" medium-range guided missiles in order to convert into a satellite launch vehicle.
The Yun Feng, which is being developed by the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology, builds on the foundation of the Skybow Missile to create a supersonic missile powered by a ramjet engine with a solid-fueled booster that can take 50 to 200 kilogram micro satellites into a low earth orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers, Taiwan News reports citing Up Media.
Taiwan has been researching missiles of this type to counter threats from China after it fired missiles near the island in 1996. The “Yun Feng” project, if succeeded, the increase in its range from 1,200 km to 2,000 km would enable it to deliver semi-armor piercing high explosive warheads to Beijing and all Chinese military bases south of it.
The missiles will reportedly be based in the mountains of central Taiwan, their targeting systems will ensure that each will strike a specific target of military significance in the aforementioned part of China.
Reports of development of the Yun Feng missile as an offensive weapon system was first surfaced in 2012. In 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen took office, there was speculation that the program would be discontinued as a "goodwill gesture to China".
However, after a review by the Ministry of Technology of the second phase of the National Space Organization's space and technology program, it was decided that the "Micro Satellite Rocket Launch Vehicle" should continue to be developed. Tsai has this year given approval for the Ministry of Defense to commission the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology to develop the "Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle".