Air Force reports another missile glitch

The China Post with CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Air Force confirmed another missile glitch during a military drill in Pingtung County on Friday, one day after two MIM-23 Hawk missiles veered off course after launch, as part of the same annual military exercise to test precision weapons at a military base in the southern county.

The days-long exercise was concluded at 11:20 a.m. Friday at the Jioupeng Military Base, the Air Force said in a statement. “The Air Force will conduct a thorough review, as soon as possible, on all problems identified during the drill,” it said.

The Air Force statement came in response to a report by the Chinese-language Apply Daily earlier in the day that an IDF fighter jet launched a Tien Chien (Sky Sword) II missile, but the missile failed to ignite and fell directly into sea. The reason behind the incident is under investigation, the report said.

The missile fell off the coast of southeastern Taiwan, according to a military source.

Friday’s incident came after two MIM-23 Hawk missiles veered off course in southern Taiwan a day earlier, though there were no reported casualties.

The two missiles were fired as part of an annual precision weapons 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 has said.

After the incidents, the Air Force pledged on Friday to undertake a comprehensive review of procedures and make improvements.

The two mishaps are 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.