Taiwan will develop a new combat aircraft missile as powerful as the US-made AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), a high-ranking defense official has announced.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source revealed that the new weapon system will be named the Tien Chien V and boast a maximum range of 160 kilometers (99 miles).
It will feature state-of-the-art anti-jamming technology and enhanced electronic warfare capabilities.
According to the defense official, the move comes as the military urgently needs to meet the operational requirements of its next-generation fighters.
The Taiwanese Air Force previously specified that its combat aircraft must utilize an internal weapons bay to enable stealth capabilities.
The Tien Chien V will be produced by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST).
Tien Chien Missile Variants
The state-owned NCIST developed the first three variants of the Tien Chien missiles, namely: Tien Chien I (short range), Tien Chien II (medium range), and Tien Chien III (ship-launched and ground vehicle-mounted).
The source said the corporation is skipping the Tien Chien IV to pave the way for developing a more advanced missile.
The latest variant, the Tien Chien V, is reportedly compatible with domestically-made, helmet-mounted cueing systems for faster deployment.
Additionally, the new missile will leverage critical components and design of the medium-range Tien Chien II.
The AMRAAM Missile
Manufactured by Raytheon, the AMRAAM missile is designed to improve the aerial combat capabilities of US and allied aircraft to address current and future threats.
It is faster, smaller, and better than the AIM-7 Sparrow missile against low-altitude targets.
The air-to-air missile uses a combination of inertial guidance, midcourse updates, and an onboard active radar to find and intercept targets.
The AMRAAM is compatible with multiple fighter aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, F-22, Eurofighter Typhoon, and JAS-39 Gripen.
“With more than 30 years of design, upgrades, testing, and production, the AIM-120 missile continues to meet warfighter requirements in all weather and beyond visual range,” Raytheon stated on its website.