Amid rising tensions with China, Taiwan’s Navy is all set to deploy a new surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, ‘Sea Sword II’.
The homegrown missile system has cleared live-fire trials and would start deployment soon with the island’s warships. The move is to reduce its reliance on foreign weapon systems.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has conducted several military drills in the region. Chinese warplanes have also made a number of incursions into Taiwan’s air defense zone in the recent past.
The Sea Sword II SAM is the naval version of the Sky Sword II radar-guided air-to-air missile designed to arm Taiwan’s F-CK-1 fighter jets. The missile has reportedly passed all firing tests and evaluations by the Taiwanese military.
According to Taiwan News, the missile would be deployed on its new warship, Ta Chiang, a Tuo Chiang Class frigate, by August. The ship is expected to be handed over to the Navy in July.
The Sea Sword II is expected to serve to fill the capability gap between Phalanx CIWS and SM-2 interceptor missiles, as another layer of air defense for the navy warships. The sailors assigned to Ta Chiang have already been familiarized with the missile and have conducted many Sea Sword II trials carried out this month.
Liberty Times reported that the missile performed well and met all naval combat requirements.
The Ta Chiang frigate can carry eight Hsiung Feng II (subsonic) and eight Hsiung Feng III (supersonic) anti-ship missiles. However, the ship lacks sufficient air defense capability, and its payload for future vessels has been altered to four Hsiung Feng IIIs and 12 Sea Sword II SAMs.
The ship’s new multi-targeting capability allows it to simultaneously engage multiple incoming targets, according to the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), the developer of the missile.
Similar to Sky Sword II, the Sea Sword II also carries a radar guidance seeker and can effectively engage targets in electronically contested environments due to its ECM (electronic countermeasures) capability.
The missile has all-weather capability, is equipped with a thrust-vectoring booster to increase its range as well as maneuverability during the launch phase. It can engage anti-ship missiles and aircraft.