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Taiwan Army orders additional Kestrel anti-tank weapon systems

The Kestrel rockets are free-flight and fin-stabilised. In the above picture, a Kestrel rocket launcher is shown with the HEAT (on the left) and HESH (on the right) munitions. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Taiwan's Republic of China Army (RoCA) has ordered an additional 5,962 Kestrel individual shoulder-launched anti-tank weapon systems (ATWSs) from state-owned National Chung‐Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), a RoCA officer told Janes on 7 November.

The new order of 5,962 brings the total number of Kestrels to be procured to 10,962, including 5,000 Kestrels ordered in late 2022, the officer said.

The systems will be delivered by November 2025, the officer added.

According to the officer, each Kestrel system costs around USD3,000 and the systems are intended to replace ageing 66 mm M72 (Type 1) light anti‐tank weapon systems in-service with the RoCA.

The system is “similar to [the] FGM-148 Javelin ATWS but it doesn't have a fire control subsystem, which makes it much lighter”, the officer said.

The RoCA has ordered Kestrel to train the troops on such systems, the officer added. “Kestrel lacks a target tracking mechanism, therefore, troops need to undergo extensive training to manually track targets.”

The RoCA first deployed Kestrel systems “five years ago and has been attempting to acquire additional systems ever since”, but they were considered expensive at that time, the officer said.

“The pricing was initially exorbitant because the NCSIST only manufactured a few of these systems. Now that the RoCA has ordered them in bulk, the price has dropped,” the officer added.

According to Janes Weapons: Infantry, the Kestrel individual weapon – developed by NCSIST – is a manportable, shoulder-fired, disposable rocket launcher.

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