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Taiwan’s New Ballistic Missile Capable of Launching Microsatellites

A Yun Feng (Cloud Peak) medium range ballistic missile lifts off from its launchpad in Taiwan. Photograph courtesy of Pixnet user Oolxiang, via Taiwan News.

Taiwan is reportedly developing its Yun Feng (Cloud Peak) medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) so that it is capable of launching microsatellites.

Developed by National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology, the Yun Feng is based on the Skybow missile that uses a solid fuel booster capable of launching 50-200 kilogram microsatellites into low Earth orbit at 500 kilometers altitude.

With a reported range of up to 2000 kilometers, the Yun Feng MRBM has been developed as counter to Chinese ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, the concept being that Yun Feng and other Taiwanese capabilities can be used as part of a deterrent against potential Chinese aggression by holding PLA forces and other targets at risk.

The Yun Feng project was nearly put on hold in 2016 by Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen as part of a possible goodwill gesture towards Beijing, but a recent review by the Taiwanese Ministry of Technology determined that the missile could be converted into a Micro Satellite Rocket Launch Vehicle as part of Taiwan’s National Space Organisation’s space technology roadmap.

Along with the Ministry of Technology and the National Space Organisation, President Tsai has ordered the Taiwanese Ministry of Defence to commission National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology to go ahead and develop the Micro Satellite Rocket Launch Vehicle.

This move may officially be part of the National Space Organisation’s space technology roadmap, but also provides Taipei with a dual-use capability that can be used as a ballistic missile should relations across the Taiwan Straits worsen.

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