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Taiwan Air Defense - Overview

The Improved HAWK (I-HAWK) SAM system remains a mainstay of Taiwan's air defense. It is a medium-range, low- to medium-altitude system, designed to defend fixed and mobile assets from high speed aircraft. The standard I-HAWK site consists of a pulse acquisition radar, a continuous wave acquisition radar, a high power illuminating target tracking radar, a range-only radar, and six three-missile launchers. In 2000 the US Department of Defense announced the possible sale to Taiwan of 162 HAWK Intercept Aerial guided missiles and peripheral equipment at an estimated cost of US$106 million. Under the Missile Reliability Restoration program, Taiwan's operational inventory of HAWK missiles was also modified to HAWK Intercept Aerial guided missile specifications.

Taipei also has deployed an indigenously-produced SAM--the Tien Kung or Sky Bow-- designed to replace the recently retired NIKE-HERCULES system. The Tien Kung is a medium-to-long range system, reportedly based on early versions of the U.S. PATRIOT. The Tien Kung-I is a single-stage, solid-propellant missile. It is deployed in two configurations: as a mobile, containerized system employing a quad-box launcher similar in appearance to the M901 PATRIOT missile launcher and as a fixed, silo-launched SAM.

A follow-on variant, the Tien Kung-II, is configured as a fixed, two-stage, single-rail or silo-launched system. For target acquisition, tracking, and mid-course missile guidance requirements, the Tien Kung employs a multifunction, phased-array radar with associated fire-control computer system and a continuous wave dish antenna illuminator which are tied into the radar in order to allow multiple target engagement.

Taiwan is expected to forgo production of the Tien Kung IV, an indigenous man-portable SAM.

Short-range air defense coverage is provided primarily by the CHAPARRAL and the SKYGUARD systems. The CHAPARRAL consists of four modified AIM-9C SIDEWINDER missiles mounted on a tracked vehicle. The SKYGUARD is an integrated air defense system consisting of a modified AIM-7M/SPARROW AAM and a 35 mm AAA gun. Taiwan has procured the STINGER SAM system. The Dual-Mounted Stinger (DMS) missile system was delivered to Taiwan in mid-2001.

Air Defense Radars

Taiwan's close proximity to China has caused the Taiwanese armed forces to adopt an "air supremacy first" strategy that emphasizes early warning. Taiwan has established an air defense early warning network which, when used in conjunction with its ground-based SAMs and fourth-generation tactical aircraft, appears to pose a credible deterrent against an air attack from the mainland. Taiwan has replaced its old SKY NET air defense network with a new network called STRONG NET to provide a comprehensive picture of the surrounding airspace.

Taiwan's three armed services mostly use standard US radar systems, and works to improve upon those radars capabilities through innovation and modernization. The Zhongshan Academy of Science also develops some mobile radars that are effective for ground or low-level target acquisition.

Taiwan's Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) has developed and publicly displayed a new tactical air defense which it has dubbed the ANTELOPE. According to promotional brochures, work on the ANTELOPE began in July 1995 as a direct by-product of the Tien Chien-I IR AAM. According to CSIST, the ANTELOPE consists of a target acquisition system, communication components, an operational control system, a carrier, and four 18-km maximum range Tien Chien-I missiles. It can be used to intercept low-flying helicopters, fighter aircraft, attack aircraft, and bombers and can be installed on a midsize truck or HMMWV.

A radar antenna and pedestal system were developed for the Tsung Shan Institute of Science and Technology to provide primary coastal defense surveilence across the China strait between Taiwan and Communist mainland China. The priority targets are small surface vessels and sea-skimming missiles or aircraft. These include the ADAR-1 Chang Bei multifunction radar and the MPG-25 target illumination radar.

Radar systems requested by Taiwan included the AN/TPS-45, the AN/TPS-59 or the AN/TPS-75 systems.

In 2000 the US Department of Defense announced that Northrop Grumman Corp. would convert Taiwan's aging TPS-43F air surveillance radar to the TPS-75V configuration at a cost of US$96 million.

Lockheed Martin is working with Taiwan on upgrading two radar systems. The two radar systems are the GD-53 radar on the indigenous fighter jet and the GE-592 radar that has been installed in Taiwan since the late 1980s. The GE-592 radar is a version of the US Marine Corps AN/TPS-59, similar to the FPS-117. The Hawk missile system's AN/TPS-59 radar system can detect incoming ballistic missiles.

In June 2002 it was announced that Taiwan would receive 11 Lockheed Martin long-range early-warning tactical radars to boost its air defense capability against rival China. The arms deal comprises seven AN/FPS-117 long-range radars and four AN/TPS-117 tactical transportable radars. The radars normally have tactical ballistic missile detection, tracking and anti-missile system cueing capabilities. The FPS-117 is a 3-D Doppler-type radar with maximum altitude search of 30 kilometers (18 miles) and a 300-kilometer maximum range. Taiwan opted not to include tactical ballistic missile (TBM) detection capabilities, but has the option of upgrading the radar in future. With this new radar Taiwan is looking about 200 kilometers inside the airspace of China. That is very important for the early warning capability of the Taiwan air defense.

On 04 June 2002 the U.S. Defense Department notified Congress that it planned to sell three MPN-14 military air traffic control radars to Taiwan. The radars are made by ITT Industries of Van Nuys, California. The proposed sale, worth an estimated US$108 million, includes AN/MPN-14 radar sets used to regulate air traffic around military airfields. The radar sets have a basic range of 111km, but can identify an aircraft carrying the correct radio transmitter as far as 370km away. Taiwan's need for the AN/MPN-14 sets was identified by a study of land defense needs conducted by the Hawaii-based US Pacific Command in 2001.

Missile Defense

As an initial response to the emerging missile threat, Taiwan has purchased the Modified Air Defense System (MADS), an improved variant of the PATRIOT surface-to-air missile (SAM) system which was used during DESERT STORM. The MADS, which began arriving on Taiwan in 1997, is deployed around heavily populated Taipei. These batteries are mobile with the intent of surviving an attack from the mainland.

On 02 June 2004 the Executive Yuan approved the Defense Ministry's special budget allocations for major military procurement programs worth a total of NT$610.8 billion (about US$18.23 billion). The money to finance the special budget will come from NT$94 billion through the release of shares of state-owned enterprises, NT$100 billion from the selling of state-owned land, and the raising of the national debt of NT$420 billion. The proposed budget would cover six sets of Patriot Advanced Capability III anti-missile systems, eight conventional submarines and 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft. The Patriot missiles would cost NT$145 billion (US$4.3 billion), and this purchase project will be carried out from 2005 to 2012.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said in January 2005 that China had 706 ballistic missiles targeting the island and was increasing its battery by 120 a year.

Surveillance Radar Program (SRP)

On 17 April 2000, the Clinton Administration decided it would delay approval of several major weapon systems requested by Taiwan, including the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with the Aegis battle management system. Instead, the Administration decided on a "comprehensive study", as well as the sale of an older PAVE PAWS long range radar. The United States originally erected four of these radar stations, but the stations at El Dorado in Texas and at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia were closed in 1995.

The Surveillance Radar Program (SRP)), at one time was called the "Defensive Radar Program" (DRP), is a foreign military sales (FMS) acquisition to provide an integrated early warning radar system for Taiwan. Missions include missile warning, air breathing threats, and maritime ship tracking. This system, consisting of up to two UHF phased array radars and up to 4 Missile Warning Centers (MWCs) will be installed and tested at locations in Taiwan. The SRP is estimated to cost approximately $830 Million for an initial buy of a single radar and two MWCs. The remaining Radar and MWCs will be contract options to be exercised if funded by the FMS customer. The cost of a pair of ultra-high-frequency, long-range early-warning radars capable of detecting ballistic and cruise missiles could be nearly US$1.8 billion.

The initial SRP procurement was to be conducted over a 4-year period. ESC/NDB is the designated ESC organization responsible for the development, acquisition, fielding, testing, and sustainment of the SRP. The program, now entitled "Surveillance Radar Program" (SRP), at one time was called the "Defensive Radar Program" (DRP). Of particular interest to the Government is demonstrated experience in developing large ground-based radar systems for installation at foreign locations to include remote site construction and technology tamper proofing. Interested sources should submit a description of their corporate capability and relevant experience in UHF radar technology, anti-tamper technology, and remote site construction.

Lockheed Martin competed with Raytheon for the contract with Taiwan to provide a long-range radar system. Lockheed proposed the MEADS [Medium Extended Air Defense System] which incorporates a long-range surveillance radar, and proposed to adapting that technology for potential long-range radar use. Raytheon proposed an existing AN/FPS-115 PAVE PAWS radar.

By early 2005 Taiwan's military authorities re-evaluated the proposed deal, citing the system's vulnerability, inability to detect cruise missiles and environmental concerns. A large stationary radar like Pave Paws could be an easy target for anti-radiation missiles. Critics argued that both systems were insufficient, given the cost involved and the short distance across the Taiwan Strait. The additional six minutes of warning time they would provide offered few advantages.

In February 2005 Lockheed Martin withdrew its bid to supply Taiwan with an early-warning radar system .

On 23 June 2005 Raytheon was awarded a not-to-exceed $752 million contract by the US Air Force, Air Force Material Command, Electronic Systems Center (ESC), Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., to provide Taiwan with an Early Warning Surveillance Radar System. This system will enable the Taiwan Air Force to detect and track long- and short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, air breathing targets and surface ships with "no doubt" reliability.

The contractor shall deliver two Missile Warning Centers (including as a minimum the required architecture, hardware, software, interfaces, communications, facilities, antitamper adaptation and provisions, and physical security) design, development, and production activities; installation and checkout activities; communication interfaces; all inplant and on-site testing; Stand Alone trainer capability, and an interface to the Surveillance Radar via the Taiwan provided Military Information Communication System (MICS) in accordance with the Technical Requirements Document and Facility Requirements Document. Provide support for an on-site system demonstration upon completion of DT&E, in accordance with the Statement of Objectives.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2021 12:15:17 ZULU