Report: Taiwan Deploys New Powerful Rocket System
Taiwan has deployed a powerful multiple-launch rocket system on an offshore island to guard against any amphibious landing by China, local media reported Wednesday.
The weapon, called Ray Ting 2000 or “Thunder 2000,” went into service for the first time on Matsu island and could reach China’s Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait, the United Evening News cited sources as saying.
The defense ministry declined to comment.
The system can launch 40 rockets in a minute with a range of 45 kilometers (28 miles), the report said.
“Thunder 2000” is expected to enhance the military’s anti-landing capabilities as it phases out the current rocket system introduced three decades ago, military experts have said.
They said the longer range could destroy landing craft before they reach the shore, while the truck-mounted launchers could be combat-ready in eight minutes, less than half the time of the current system.
The ministry reportedly plans to produce more than 50 such systems at a cost of Tw$14.5 billion (US $483 million).
China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war, with the defeated Nationalists retreating to the island.
Ties have improved markedly since 2008, when a Beijing-friendly government came to power in Taipei.
But China still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
The Ray Ting 2000 or RT2000 (thunder) multiple launch rocket system made it's debut in 1997. The RT2000 was locally developed in Taiwan to replace the ageing Kung Feng VI 117-mm multiple launch rocket system. The RT2000 is entered service with Taiwanese army in 2011. Taiwan's requirement is estimated to be for up to 150 systems of this type. However only 57 units were ordered and later this number was further reduced due to defense budget cuts.
The main role of the RT2000 is costal defense. It is intended to neutralize enemy amphibious craft with troops and equipment before reaching the beach.
The RT2000 artillery rocket system has a modular design. It uses three types of rockets: Mk15, Mk30 and Mk45. The mark number of each rocket type indicates the maximum range in kilometers. The RT200 can use 60 Mk15 117-mm rockets. It is the same rocket used with the Kung Feng 6A launcher. The Mk30 180-mm rocket is larger and launcher can hold 27 of them. The Mk45 is a 230-mm rocket and has a range of 45 km. It is claimed that a full salvo of the Mk45 rockets covers area of 200 000 m², destroying all small landing craft and damaging larger ones. The RT2000 can hold 12 of the Mk45 rockets. The Mk30 and Mk45 can utilize high explosive or cluster warheads. It is worth mentioning that the RT2000 can fire while moving.
Prototype of the RT2000 is based on the M977 HEMTT truck. Vehicle is powered by the Detroit Diesel 8V92TA engine, developing 450 horsepower. Production systems are mounted on the MAN HX81 8x8 trucks.
The RT2000 has a number of advantages over the M270 MLRS. It costs one-third the cost of the M270. Furthermore the RT2000 has a wheeled chassis, which is cheaper and easier to maintain. It also has better maneuverability.
Source: By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE- TAIPEI – 5 June 2013
Photo: The Taiwanese RT2000 Thunder multiple-launch rocket system has a modular design (Photo by MilitaryToday.com)