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Taiwan's NCSIST completes Sky Sword III missile development

New air-to-air missile to become primary weapon of Indigenous Defense Fighter

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Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Fighter IDF jets displayed with weapons payload at Penghu Magong military air base. (Reuters photo)

Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Fighter IDF jets displayed with weapons payload at Penghu Magong military air base. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) has completed development of the Sky Sword III air-to-air missile and is expected to begin mass production next year, according to a high-ranking government official.

The new missile has a range of approximately 120 to 150 kilometers, with a speed surpassing that of its predecessor, the Sky Sword II. the official said. It will provide Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) with a more potent and robust air defense weapon system, in response to the increasing military threat posed by China, Liberty Times reported.

Once production begins, the missile will become the primary air superiority weapon for IDFs, the official said.

The Sky Sword II has a range of 60 km and a speed of Mach 4 while the extended-range version can travel up to 100 km and reach a speed of Mach 6. NCSIST has also developed anti-radiation, surface-launched, and ship-launched variants.

Last month, the military revealed that the surface-launched Sky Sword II is in full swing. The system first underwent a series of tests in March to evaluate its performance but failed to meet the Army’s requirements. However, it passed a second round of evaluations in July and is now approved for large-scale production.

The air-defense system will be deployed alongside the U.S.-made Avenger missile system and is intended to fill Taiwan’s air defense gaps, achieving a "layered interception" effect.