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DEFENSE/Taiwan to build 12 new domestic TK III missile sites by 2026

10/23/2023 04:41 PM
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The launcher of Tien-Kung III land-based surface-to-air missile is seen in this undated CNA file photo.
The launcher of Tien-Kung III land-based surface-to-air missile is seen in this undated CNA file photo.

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Taiwan will build 12 new indigenous Tien-Kung or Sky Bow III (TK III) land-based surface-to-air missile sites by the end of 2026 to counter the threat of China's ballistic missiles, according to a Ministry of National Defense (MND) report.

The report, sent to the Legislative Yuan on Oct. 20 for a defense budget review, said the new sites were needed based on the advice of Taiwan's top military research unit, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST).

It said the NCSIST has found that older generations of TK missiles it built, the TK IIs, could no longer counter the threat of the People's Liberation Army's advanced ballistic missile systems and needed to be modernized.

Consequently, the MND decided to upgrade its existing MIM-23 Hawk missile system sites and TK II missile sites and turn them into 12 new missile sites for the more advanced TK III land-based surface-to-air missile sites, the report said.

It did not disclose how many existing TK III land-based surface-to-air missile sites Taiwan already has around the country.

Penghu County officials visit a military base with Tien-Kung II launch facilities in June 2017. File photo courtesy of Penghu County government
Penghu County officials visit a military base with Tien-Kung II launch facilities in June 2017. File photo courtesy of Penghu County government

The first phase of the project, the upgrading of six old missile sites into sites compatible with the TK IIIs, began in 2022 and is expected to be completed before the end of 2025.

Work on the remaining six TK III missile sites began earlier this year and will be completed before the end of 2026, the MND said in the report.

According to the NCSIST website, the TK III system is designed to engage different threats, including aircraft, cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and short-range tactical missiles.

The system can also launch older versions of missiles in the TK family, including TK I and II missiles.

The TK III system is being operated in conjunction with the U.S.-bought PAC system as the backbone of Taiwan's low-altitude air defense system, the NCSIST said on its website.

(By Novia Huang and Joseph Yeh)

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