Legislator questions new military tech’s capability

By John Liu , The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Legislature recently froze military funds to procure a device which is claimed to have the capability of interfering with the navigation systems of incoming cruise missiles. The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST, 中科院) was commissioned by the military to develop equipment which could, in theory, cause incoming cruise missiles to deviate away from their intended targets. The military claimed that the “simple positional system protection device” is able to generate electronic interference which can scramble the positioning systems of missiles. CSIST was commissioned by the Army to develop the device in 2008. The research project has incurred total expenditures of NT$49.1 million so far. The device is operable by one single soldier, and boasts the capability to thwart the U.S.’s GPS system, Russia’s Glonass navigation system and China’s BeiDou Satellite Navigation System. Legislator’s Criticism Legislators have questioned the new device’s capabilities and have deemed it “worthless” and unable to counter any missile attacks. Although the military has insisted on purchasing the device, the funds for its procurement were frozen by the Legislature.

Kuomintang Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) said that the proclaimed functionality of the new device was overstated, and that the military takes the taxpayers for “fools.” The device is unable to interfere with navigation in any missiles and cannot satisfy the requirement of Taiwan’s military, Ma said. The National Audit Office pointed out several fallacies in the program, according to Ma. Without a good knowledge of the system, the Navy is planning to acquire it for NT$200 million, while the Air Force is allocating more than NT$10 million to procure it, Ma said. The Research Institute’s Defense Nevertheless, CSIST said that it has obtained the frequency and parameters of China’s BeiDou navigation system, and therefore is capable of interfering with Chinese cruise missiles. CSIST President Chin Shou-fong (金壽豐) indicated that he is confident about this invention, but that he was unable to explain and speak of the new device’s functionality as it would reveal classified military secrets. Ma pointed out that the U.S., China and Russia all have made substantial investments in the research and development of their respective navigation systems. She said she doubted that their navigation systems could be scrambled so easily. Ma said that CSIST is free to continue its research, but the military should be in no hurry to procure a device that is not fully functional.