Missiles veer off course in Taiwan military’s latest mishap

The China Post with CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Two MIM-23 Hawk missiles veered off course during a military exercise in the southern Taiwan county of Pingtung Thursday, but there were no reported casualties, according to the Air Force.

The two missiles were fired at around 8 a.m. Thursday as part of an annual precision weapon firing drill conducted jointly by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Due to fuel combustion problems, the missiles veered off course shortly after being launched and exploded within the restricted area, the Air Force said.

It said the purpose of the drill was to examine the results of training for military troops, and the military will review the errors and make improvements.

The mishap is the latest in a series of mistakes — some fatal — made by the military in the past year.

Last July, a Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile was accidentally fired from a 500-ton Chin Chiang patrol vessel during a routine inspection. The vessel was inside a naval base in Kaohsiung at the time.

The missile landed in waters off Penghu soon after, killing the captain of a fishing vessel that was shipwrecked in the same area.

The following month, three military personnel were killed after their tank fell into a stream in Pingtung when returning from a training drill.

And there has been no shortage in other controversies.

In March this year, eight military personnel at an Air Force base in Taichung tested positive for Category 1 drugs. In May, the military came under fire for gender discrimination after announcing that it was lowering its physical fitness standards for men while raising them for women.

Then in June, an 80-second video clip emerged showing soldiers laughing as they hung a dog by its neck with an iron chain until it died.