Hsiung Feng IIE is a precision prodigy for deep striking China

In a recent development, Taiwan’s media circles have released the first glimpses of the Hsiung Feng IIE land attack cruise missile. These initial images and snippets of video footage provide an intriguing look into this latest addition to Taiwan’s military arsenal. This missile is a highly guarded asset that is believed to have been operational for over ten years, although this has never been officially confirmed. 

According to reports by The United Daily News, the disclosed visuals were taken during a night launch from the Jiupeng military base, located at the southern tip of the island. The missile is said to have been airborne for an extensive duration, likely spanning several hours.

Since the beginning of the century

The Hsiung Feng IIE, distinguished as a subsonic jet-powered missile, has been meticulously engineered to penetrate further into the Chinese mainland than any other weapon in Taiwan’s formidable arsenal.  

Development of this remarkable technology is believed to have commenced in the early stages of the 21st century. A decade later, it transitioned into large-scale serial production. Initial estimates placed its operational range at an impressive 300 kilometers. However, recent advancements have extended this range significantly, enabling it to engage targets at distances nearing a staggering 1000 kilometers.

Hsiung Feng IIE is a precision 'wonder' to inland China deep-strike
Photo by NCSIST

Caught in the brief, fiery glow of a discarded solid booster, the Hsiung Feng IIE made its dramatic appearance. The backdrop to this spectacle was Jiupeng, a location that has long been a prominent missile testing facility and pivotal hub for the Republic of China’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology [NCSIST]. This fleeting image not only showcased the missile’s launch but also underscored the longstanding scientific and technological prowess of the region. 

Asymmetric assets

The island nation of Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China, continues to be embroiled in a state of unresolved conflict with mainland China.

To counterbalance its significant inferiority in conventional areas such as air power, Taiwan has strategically channeled substantial resources into the development of asymmetric assets. These include mobile cruise missile launchers and advanced surface-to-air missile systems, crucial for its defense strategy. 

Hsiung Feng IIE is a precision 'wonder' to inland China deep-strike
Photo credit: NCSIST

The efficacy of subsonic missiles, lacking substantial stealth features, in evading one of the world’s most advanced and densest multi-layered air defense networks on the mainland, is a subject of considerable debate. This skepticism is not confined to the Hsiung Feng IIE, but also extends to the complementary air-launched Wan Chien cruise missiles, which are often carried by the native Ching Kuo fighters.

More about Hsiung Feng IIE

In its report, the Ministry of National Defense refrained from disclosing the exact quantity of HF-2E missiles that have been manufactured to date. However, it did reveal a strategic blueprint, which articulates the intent to ramp up to an annual production rate of 131 HF-2 and HF-2E missiles, commencing in 2024.

Reports indicate the existence of two distinct HF-2E variants, each possessing unique attributes. These include the baseline model and a version with extended-range capabilities.

Hsiung Feng IIE is a precision 'wonder' to inland China deep-strike
Photo by NCSIST

However, the available reports provide only a modicum of information regarding the extent of the ranges attributed to both versions of the design. It is postulated that the foundational design possesses the prowess to effectively engage with targets situated within a radius of 300 to 600 kilometers, which translates to a span of 186 to 372 miles.

The enhanced variant, on the other hand, is reported to boast a superior operational range. This purportedly endows it with the ability to accurately hit assigned targets situated at considerably larger distances, spanning anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers.

Such us Storm Shadow or AGM-158

Constructed on a mobile terrestrial platform, the missile utilizes a solid-fueled booster and a liquid-fueled turbojet engine for propulsion. This innovative approach ensures high-speed movement and long-range capability. Its trajectory is expertly guided through the melding of INS/GPS guidance systems, a true testament to modern technology’s precision. To further bolster its strike accuracy, it employs the use of advanced terrain-matching technology, thereby enhancing its operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

Hsiung Feng IIE is a precision 'wonder' to inland China deep-strike
Photo credit: UDN

According to authoritative sources, the missile’s sophistication is demonstrated by its pre-terminal accuracy, which is said to be within 15 meters of Circular Error Probable [CEP]. This level of precision is indeed a testament to its advanced design. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that the missile incorporates an imaging infrared seeker. This feature is not merely an add-on, but a crucial component that significantly enhances the missile’s accuracy. 

The advancement in question reflects characteristics that can be observed in other land-attack cruise missiles. Precisely, it mirrors the capabilities seen in the US AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile [JASSM], the Storm Shadow, and the latest versions of the Tomahawk missile.

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