Establishing Ties and Exploring Possibilities
Making its debut at MSPO at this year’s edition of the Polish defence exhibition, Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) aims to ‘make friends’ with regional partners, seeking first to establish ties, explore possibilities and offer its products. Vice President Ping-Ya Ko observed that “even [some] small cooperation would be beneficial.”
State-owned NCSIST was founded in 1969, charged with creating indigenous defence industrial potential. Currently, NCSIST is a a national leader in modern military technologies which, until now, has limited its offerings to the Taiwanese armed forces: it now seeks to offer its wide portfolio of products to international customers and is already discussing several projects, according to Mr Ko.
NCSIST General Director Eddie Chien explained to MT in Kielce that the company now has six departments: Aeronautical Systems Research Division; Missile and Rockets Systems Research Division; Information and Communications Research Division; Chemical Systems Research Division; Materials and Electro-Optics Research Division; and Electronic Systems Research Division. With some 11,000 employees, almost all products it offers are based on indigenously-developed technologies.
When asked which elements of NCSIST’s proposal at MSPO are the most important, Mr Ko said that it would be missiles. This includes the TIEN CHIEN air-to-air missile, which the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) has been using operationally for a long time. Two main versions have been developed: TIEN CHIEN I and II, respectively short- and long-range. Other versions are also available, including naval (SEA ORYX, lightweight, infrared homing short-range air defence system) and the ANTELOPE, in surface-to-air configuration.
Another element of NCSIST’s stand at MSPO is a range of surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile and anti-aircraft defense systems known as TIEN KUNG. The latest variant is TIEN KUNG III, which was compared to PAC-3. This is a lower-tier missile defence system with an active radar seeker and a directed fragmentation warhead. In Taiwan they are intended as a replacement for the MIM-23 HAWK. From a Polish perspective, Warsaw’s commitment to PATRIOT means it is highly unlikely to procure TIEN KUNG III, which could not be accommodated in PATRIOT launchers due to size differences.
The third major element of the NCSIST stand in Kielce is anti-ship missiles of the HSIUNG FENG family, including two sub-sonic variants (I and II) and one supersonic (III). A medium-range HF-III joined the service in 2007 and is capable of engaging both land-based and naval targets. It was confirmed that a new, fourth variant, is now under development.
Other products presented in Kielce include the CARDINAL mini-UAV (length: 1.3m, span: 2.2m, weight: 5.5kg, endurance: 1 hour), ALBATROS tactical UAV (length: 8.9m, span: 6m, weight: 380kg, endurance: more than 10 hours), 2.75-inch unguided rockets for air-to-ground attack (in service on AH-64E APACHE, AH-1H COBRA and OH-58D KIOWA) and the RAY-TING 2000 artillery multiple rocket system mounted on 8×8 truck , firing three different munitions to ranges of 7-45km.