Taiwan has received the first shipment of anti-ship missiles which it ordered from the United States for its submarines, strengthening their attack capability, a senior official was Wednesday quoted as saying.
Taiwan ordered the Harpoon missiles in 2008 as part of a $6.5 billion arms purchase which sparked strong protests from Beijing.
The island already has Harpoons installed on its frigates and F-16 fighter jets.
The first batch of such missiles for the navy’s two Dutch-built submarines has been shipped to Taiwan, the state Central News Agency said, citing a recent report to a closed session of parliament by deputy defence minister Andrew Hsia.
“The missiles will be able to extend the range of the two submarines’ striking capabilities, enabling them to launch a pre-emptive attack when necessary,” Hsia was quoted as saying.
The report said Taiwan spent Tw$5.9 billion ($194 million) on the missiles, but did not say how many had been bought and the number delivered.
The missile has a range of 150 nautical miles (278 km), nearly ten times the range of torpedoes which are currently the subs’ major weaponry.
The defence ministry declined to comment on the report.