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Taiwanese Navy to establish new Sea Control Missile Command.

| Naval News Navy 2024

As reported by the Liberty Times on January 20, 2024, Taiwan is in the process of establishing a Sea Control Missile Command for its Navy, set to be launched later this year. This development comes in response to the increased production and phased delivery of Hsiung Feng II, Hsiung Feng III, and extended-range Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A Taiwanese Navy warship fires an anti-ship missile during the annual missile firing training in 2022. (Picture source: Taiwan MoD)

The command's location will be in western Taiwan and will play a crucial role in managing and coordinating Taiwan's missile assets. This decision is prompted by Taiwan's recent procurement of 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense System Launcher Transporter Units and 400 Harpoon missiles from the United States. These acquisitions have emphasized the need for a dedicated command structure to oversee these missile systems effectively.

Originally, the command headquarters was intended to serve both as an administrative center and a storage site for the anti-ship missiles. However, the proposed location of the Naval Anti-Ship Missile Command Headquarters in Yunlin's Huwei Township sparked debates during the Taiwanese election period. Some local residents raised concerns about its potential vulnerability as a wartime target due to the presence of anti-ship missile storage facilities.

As a result, officials have chosen to simplify the mission of the headquarters. Vice Premier of the Executive Yuan, Cheng Wen-tsang, disclosed during an event in late November 2023 that, following extensive consultations with top government officials and national security agencies, the command headquarters and dormitories would no longer house missile storage or Harpoon missiles. This shift aims to promote development in the Huwei Special Zone while addressing local concerns.

Military officials have confirmed that the command headquarters will remain in Yunlin's Huwei Township as originally planned. However, its primary role will be administrative, with a focus on housing administrative facilities and barracks. Anti-ship missiles, on the other hand, will be stored in a separate and secure location outside the headquarters.

A military source has highlighted that the new missile units, whether designated for anti-ship or anti-aircraft roles, will predominantly rely on mobile missile launcher vehicles deployed on tactical positions based on readiness and defense missions. This change marks a departure from the previous practice of traditional fixed missile deployment, offering greater flexibility in responding to wartime defense missions.

The current naval anti-ship missile unit, known as the "Haifeng Brigade" or "Sea Edge Brigade," has traditionally operated as a fixed missile deployment unit. However, in recent years, there has been a notable expansion of mobile missile launch vehicle units within the brigade. Presently, the Haifeng Brigade comprises 6 fixed deployment squadrons, 4 mobile deployment squadrons, and 1 support squadron, with its headquarters located at the Taichung Qing Shui camp. To accommodate the growing mobile deployment squadrons, the Navy quietly established the Sea Edge Second Brigade last year, and the formation of the Sea Edge Third Brigade is anticipated in the first half of this year, reflecting Taiwan's ongoing efforts to enhance its maritime defense capabilities.

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