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Taiwan deploys Sky Bow III air-defence systems

Taiwan showcased the Sky Bow III surface-to-air missile system during a media event at Hualien Air Force Base in August 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan has initiated deployment of its Sky Bow III surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems – known locally as Tien Kung III – at existing MIM-23 Hawk and Sky Bow II air-defence system sites, a Republic of China Army (RoCA) officer told Janes on 29 January.

The move follows a budgetary report submitted by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) to the Legislative Yuan in October 2023, which said that it will transform 12 existing MIM-23 Hawk and Sky Bow II sites into facilities that can deploy the newer and more capable Sky Bow III systems by the end of 2026.

The project is a response to growing Chinese ballistic missile capability. The MIM-23 Hawk and Sky Bow II have been in RoCA service since the 1960s and 1996 respectively.

The reconstruction work is expected to include establishing new facilities – such as garages, training grounds, component warehouses, munition depots, maintenance and control centres, and radar and firing unit installations – to enable the deployment of the Sky Bow III systems.

The RoCA official said the MND has completed the reconstruction work of MIM-23 Hawk deployment sites to transform them into Sky Bow III-compatible sites. The MND has also decommissioned MIM-23 Hawk systems and deployed the Sky Bow III systems as replacements, the officer added.

The next phase to transform existing Sky Bow II sites to Sky Bow III sites has also started, the officer said.

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