Mon, Dec 25, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Extended-range missiles ready for use

SKY SWORD:New Tien Chien II missiles with a 100km range are to first be adopted by the air force and a decision is expected soon on Hsiung Feng IIE missiles with a 1,000km reach

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An Indigenous Defense Fighter jet carrying a Tien Chien II air-to-air missile is pictured in Hualien County yesterday.

Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times

An extended-range version of the Tien Chien II “Sky Sword” air-to-air missile has undergone successful testing and is to arm the air force’s Indigenous Defense Fighter jets, a defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Tien Chien II, or TC-2, was originally developed as a family of air-to-air missiles that could be launched from army, navy and air force platforms.

The new TC-2C missiles have an extended effective range of 100km, up from 60km, as well as increased precision, the official said, adding that the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology performed the tests.

The Indigenous Defense Fighter jets, which equip two air force tactical fighter wings, have undergone fleetwide improvements that increased their weapons load from two to four Tien Chien II missiles, the official said, adding that carrying four TC-2C missiles significantly increases the firepower of the jets.

The Chungshan Institute is also developing the TC-2N, a dedicated naval version of the Tien Chien II missile that could be fired from warships’ vertical launch systems or other systems, the official said.

The TC-2N is the planned successor for the MIM-72 Chaparral missiles that the navy’s La Fayette-class frigates are equipped with, the official said.

The navy would begin replacing the missiles from 2020, Navy Chief of Staff Lee Tsung-hsiao (李宗孝) last week told the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

The TC-2N would be a vast improvement on the obsolete and short-range MIM-72, sources said.

The Chungshan Institute has been improving the performance of all Tien Chien II missile variants, the official said, adding that the air force and navy were happy with the new missile prototypes, but the army has not shown interest.

Chinese-language Up Media yesterday said that the Ministry of National Defense is soon to declare the extended-range variant of Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) cruise missiles ready for mass production.

The HF-2E extended-range surface-to--surface cruise missile has an effective range that exceeds 1,000km, compared with 600km for the older HF-2E.

The weapon was successfully tested for deployment in 2008, and its performance and range have been improved since then, the Web site said.

The ministry is considering three proposals to field and integrate the HF-2E extended-range missiles, and is to submit a brief to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for her consideration before initiating mass production, it said.

The first proposal would see the existing 240 HF-2E missiles upgraded to the current standard, Up Media said, adding that officials consider this to be the quickest way to upgrade the missile arsenal.

The second proposal would see the navy field a mixture of the older HF-2E and the extended range variant, it said, adding the third proposal is to increase the overall number of HF-2E missiles in the military’s arsenal, a plan that could be implemented in conjunction with the above two.

Tsai would choose from the options after the ministry submits its brief, it said.

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