Tien Chien V AAM: A new era for Taiwan aerial air defense

Amid an increasingly complex geopolitical context and in pursuit of enhanced defense autonomy, Taiwan, through its National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), has unveiled the Tien Chien V (Sky Sword V) missile. This is Taiwan's innovative response to long-range air-to-air missiles. This move is part of an effort to enhance the island's aerial defense against a constantly changing regional landscape.

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Tien Chien V AAM A new era for Taiwan aerial air defense 925  Tien Chien II Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System, developed by NCSIST. (Picture source: NCSIST)

The Tien Chien V, a product of NCSIST's research efforts, symbolizes Taiwan's progression towards a modernization of its armed forces. With an impressive range of 160 kilometers, it stands as Taiwan's counterpart to the renowned American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. This advancement comes at a time when Taiwan is aspiring for greater defensive independence, seeking to minimize its reliance on imported equipment, especially in the face of escalating geopolitical tensions.

In a direct comparison, the Tien Chien V and the AMRAAM showcase similar ranges, positioning them as essential tools for medium-distance aerial engagements. The Tien Chien V also stands out with the integration of modern technologies, including locally designed helmet-mounted sighting systems, thereby optimizing target detection and pilot responsiveness.

Taiwan's aerial fleet is diversified to ensure optimal air defense. It includes the US F-16 Fighting Falcon, a versatile aircraft suited for a multitude of missions, from air superiority to ground attacks. These aircraft can be equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles such as the AMRAAM, thereby enhancing their long-range combat capability.

Next in line are the French Mirage 2000s, modern and versatile combat jets, also capable of carrying advanced air-to-air missiles like the AMRAAM.

Lastly, Taiwan boasts the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), also known as the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo. Locally designed, this aircraft is specifically tailored for air superiority and ground attack missions. While the IDF isn't equipped with the AMRAAM, it can be armed with short-range missiles.

The question remains regarding the compatibility of the Tien Chien V with the F16 Falcon and the Mirage 2000. However, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is actively pursuing the development of a next-generation combat aircraft, specifically designed to accommodate the Tien Chien V missiles. This initiative reflects Taiwan's determination to modernize its aerial capabilities in line with the technological evolutions of the industry.