Taipei-A convoy of military vehicles carrying indigenous air defense systems rolled through the streets of Taitung City Wednesday morning in what the defense ministry said was a routine drill.
The vehicles were loaded with the locally developed Tien-Kung III air defense Weapon system that included missiles, missile launchers and Phased Array Radar.
Asked about the convoy, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Shih Shun-wen (???) told CNA that it was a routine drill and was not meant to counter any imminent security threats in the region.
This year, the military has been deploying more surface-to-air missiles in Taitung, Hualien and other parts of eastern Taiwan to strengthen national defense and counter the threat from China, following President Tsai Ing-wen's (???) pledge in January to do so.
One of the surface-to-air missiles Tsai mentioned at the time was the locally made Tien Kung III anti-tactical ballistic missile.
Developed by Taiwan military's top research facility, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST), the Tien-Kung III is a land-based surface-to-air weapons system with a range of 200 kilometers.
The latest edition of the Tien Kung series of missiles is designed to engage different threats, including aircraft, cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and short range tactical missiles, according to the NCIST website.
The system is meant to replace the U.S.-made MIM-23 Hawk air defense system that has been in service in eastern Taiwan for nearly five decades, the NCIST says on its website.
Apart from the Tien Kung series of missiles, Taiwan also has U.S.-made Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 air defense missiles.
On Monday, China announced that it would be holding a live fire exercise near the Taiwan Strait this week. It will be the third set of war games by China in the area in less than a month.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel