Taiwan to develop land-based point defense system

TAIPEI (GDC) — The Taiwanese Air Force has entrusted the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) with evaluating and potentially developing a land-based close-in weapons system (CIWS) after canceling plans to purchase ones from the U.S.

Under the “Sky Falcon II” project, the Air Force had set aside a budget of NT$3.15 billion (US$107 million) last August to purchase three Phalanx close-in weapons systems from the U.S., which would act as point defense against land-attack cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and small drones. However, after a six-month delay in negotiations with the U.S., the Air Force turned to NCSIST instead.

NCSIST pointed out that if the Air Force’s desired air defense system is purely for point defense purposes, then a CIWS previously installed on the Navy’s Yang Tzu-class warships can be placed on a truck trailer, Up Media reported. The institute mentioned it had already outfitted the Air Force’s Songshan radar station with a CIWS that had originally been mounted on a decommissioned Navy ship and that transferring the weapon onto a trailer would not be a problem.

However, the Air Force has requested a system that can be linked up with the Skyguard air defense system and its radars. NCIST has expressed its ability to carry out research and development for such a system, which will be deployed at Hualien’s Chiashan base and Taitung’s Chishang base in the future to counter cruise missiles and anti-radiation unmanned aircraft.

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