The Republic of China (ROC) Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice echoed by Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung in Taipei Times on September 24. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months.
The Kestrel is an individual shoulder-launched weapon system developed by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology and is currently in service with the Republic of China Armed Forces and Coast Guard Administration. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick walls up to 30cm thick. As a weapon designed to be operated by a single soldier, the Kestrel’s tactical role is similar to that of the American M72, which is a light, mobile weapon for infantry soldiers.
The Ocean Affairs Council has deployed Kestrel missiles on the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands) and Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island) to strengthen garrison defenses and anti-landing capabilities. The Military Police’s Mechanized Infantry 239th Battalion and the 202nd Command Headquarters’ Quick Reaction Force have also conducted training simulations with Kestrels to counter potential decapitation strikes by the Chinese on Taipei’s Bo Ai Special District, in which most government buildings are concentrated, Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung write.