Yun Feng, the supersonic missile Taiwan threatens China with
The entrenchment of the Ukrainian war in the east of the country is shifting the spotlight to Taiwan, the epicenter of another of the great diplomatic and territorial crises whose pressure has only increased in recent weeks. In the middle of the conflict is the United States, which has positioned itself on the Taiwanese side, angering China.
The latest news come directly from You Si Kun, Speaker of Taiwan’s Legislative Assembly, who has declared that the supersonic cruise missile is capable of reaching Beijing. In particular, he is referring to the Yun Feng model that is designed, developed and manufactured in the country.
“The Yun Feng missile can already hit Beijing,” have been the exact statements of You Si Kun. “China should think twice before invading Taiwan.” He has also differentiated its geographical situation with that of Ukraine and Russia, as China would have to cross the Taiwan Strait to put its troops in the country. “If the landing succeeds, everyone in Taiwan should be as determined to die, as in Ukraine.”
The development of the Yun Feng missile began in 1996 immediately after the third Taiwan Strait crisis. At that time, China attacked the island with a batch of missiles with the intention of implementing its One China policy. Its aim was to add Taiwanese territory within the People’s Republic. The response to the attack had international repercussions, with the United States being the most involved, sending a large military detachment -mainly naval- to the area. The crisis then ended and Taiwan began work on the Yun Feng model.
The first unofficial reports on the program did not come to light until December 2012 after the implementation of a rigorous secret plan. To achieve this, Taiwan spent more than 6 years hiding the tests in the middle of another -public- missile development program. The first official announcement did not come until April 2020 when they announced that they had flight tested Yu Feng missiles along with other munitions.
Specific details about the missile are really scarce. Taiwan has taken special care to develop it under the strictest of secrecy, keeping key data such as range, top speed and even physical appearance to themselves.
All that is known is that it is supersonic – it passes the speed of sound, set at 1,200 km/h – is launched from the surface and is specially designed to attack the surface as well.
The standard version of the Yun Feng has a range of 1,200 kilometers, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. That would leave it below the 1,700 kilometers separating Taipei – Taiwan’s capital and located north of Taiwan – and Beijing, which does not fit with You Si Kun’s statements.
However, the Taiwanese president’s statements indicate that the development of a second version of Yun Feng with extended range, capable of covering a distance of 2,000 kilometers, has been completed. That distance would be achieved by improving its propulsion system, based on a stratoreactor supplemented by a rocket engine powered by solid fuel.
It is estimated to have a payload of 225 kilograms, including a high-energy explosive or fragmentation warhead. The number of Yun Feng units manufactured and the number of launching devices are unknown.
Coastal defense missiles
In addition to the range of possibilities opened up by the Yun Feng missile, Taiwan has been investing for some years in the development of coastal defense systems that could serve as a shield against a potential invasion by China.
One of the protagonists in this category is the Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) anti-ship missile. It is a subsonic weapon manufactured by the Chung-Shan National Institute of Science and Technology with technology and power equivalent to the RGM-84 Harpoon, as reported in The War Zone.
Development of the HF-2 began in 1983 and it entered service only 7 years later. Although the first time it was shown in public was in 1998 on the occasion of Taiwan’s Independence Day. From this same platform a couple of variants were designed with the aim of integrating the missiles into shore-based static launchers and aircraft. Both entered service throughout the 1990s.
This missile, unlike the Yun Feng, has a much smaller range. The standard version remains at a discreet 120 kilometers, while one with the extended radius reaches 200. In recent weeks, in the face of increasing tensions with China, Taiwan has been carrying out tests with the HF-2 in its embarked version.