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Sky Bow II / Tien Kung II

Taiwan's overall air defense architecture consists of three sets of Patriot missile systems, primarily intended to intercept guided missiles, along with six sets of Tien Kung I and Tien Kung II missile systems responsible for medium- and high-altitude targets. The first test firings apparently took place in the mid-1980s with limited deployment occurring in September 1989. The Sky Bow II officially replaced the Nike Hercules in October 1996 when the latter system was retired from Taiwanese usage after 37 years active service. The associated search radar range is 300 km.

The T'IEN-KUNG II SAM is 9.1 meters long, has a diameter of 0.57 meters, weighs 1,100 kilograms, and has a top speed of Mach 4.0, a maximum range of 100 kilometers, and a warhead weighing 90 kilograms. The Tien Kung II is essentially the Tien Kung I round equipped with a second-stage solid propellant rocket booster motor section.

In 1994, it was revealed that the Sky Bow II would have an anti-tactical ballistic missile capability. In 1997, the anti-missile weapon capability was dropped following the acquisition of the Patriot system. In the Fall of 1998 Taiwan successfully test fired a radar guided interceptor variant of it's Tien Kung missile. The anti-missile missile was reported to have intercepted a target missile in southern Pingtung. The interceptor is designed for use against the Chinese M type missile, Taiwan also ordered 200 PAC2 an upgraded version of the Patriot missile system.

In mid-September 1998 Taiwan test fired a missile which successfully intercepted another one in a further step forward in the island's efforts to build its own anti-missile weaponry. An updated verion of the locally designed Tien Kung II was launched from a base in the southern county of Pingtung and hit another fired from Chengkung, southeastern Taiwan. Unconfirmed reports said the military-funded Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology tested an anti-tactical ballistic missile (ATBM) in July 1998 which destroyed its target at a speed of Mach Four.

It is said that Taiwan's future SSMs will be a modification of the T'IEN-KUNG II . If the T'IEN-KUNG II is used as the basis for the SSM modification, its estimated external measurements would not be very greatly changed, but the weight of the warhead could be increased to 150 kilograms and the maximum surface target range absolutely would exceed 300 kilometers and should be about 320 kilometers. Based on Taiwan's current level of technology and equipment, the accuracy of Taiwan's guided missile should be within about a 1,000 meter circumference of the aiming point.

Tien Chi (Sky Halberd)

The Tien Chi (Sky Halberd) is a surface-to-surface missile derivative of the Tien Kung II. It was test fired during 1997. The system is apparently funded as a response to the People's Republic of China ballistic missile network aimed at Taiwan.




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