Tien-Kung (Sky Bow)

Quick Facts


Tien-Kung I

Tien-Kung II

Tien-Kung III

Role and Mobility Medium- to Long-Range Surface to Air Defense; Road-Mobile
Interceptors and Range

Tien-Kung I-III Missiles:

TK I: 70 km

TK II: 150 km

TK III: 200 km


Tien-Kung I:

-Chang Bai S-Band phased-array radar

-CS/MPG-25 X-Band target illuminator radar (x2)

-Semi-active radar homing seeker

Tien-Kung II:

-Change Bai S-Band phased-array radar

-X-Band active radar homing seeker

Tien-Kung III:

-Upgraded Chang Bai S-Band phased-array radar OR mobile Chang-Shan C-Band phased array radar

-Ku-Band active radar homing seeker

Targets Fighter Aircraft, Short-Range Tactical Ballistic Missiles, and Cruise Missiles
Status/Exports Operational; None
Designer/Producer National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST)


The Tien-Kung, also known as the Sky Bow, is a medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system operated by Taiwan. The system is composed of the surface-to-air missiles, the canisters, and the mobile fire control units. The fire control unit includes the phased array radar, communication relay, engagement control station, the launcher, and power plant equipment.[i]Development of the system first began in 1981 for its original variant, the Tien-Kung I, and was deployed in 1993 with a semi-active radar homing seeker for missile guidance, supported by two CS/MPG-25 target illuminator radars.

The next variant of the system, the Tien-Kung II, was deployed in 1998. The Tien-Kung II included a slightly enlarged modified version of the original, and also replaced the semi-active seeker with an active radar homing seeker for increased range and capability. It is otherwise similar to the Tien-Kung I, relying on the same launcher.

The most current variant is the Tien-Kung III which finished its operational test and evaluation period in 2011.[ii]The system also features a multiple target-tracking capability, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) capabilities, target identification and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).[iii]It also has a higher effective range due to its solid propellants.

Strategic Implications

The Tien-Kung system provides Taiwan with a domestically produced and highly capable air defense. Each new variant has allowed for greater range of defense. The newest variant, the Tien-Kung III provides medium- to long-range coverage that better ensures Taiwan’s ability to intercept threats earlier in their trajectory when they pose a lower risk. The Tien-Kung III is also capable of providing defense against some ballistic missiles.


December 14-16, 2016: Taiwan conducts a three-day live-exercise to test its air defense capabilities, including the Tien-Kung III.[iv]

January 2016:The Tien-Kung III is exhibited at the Bahrain Air Show.[v]

2009:The Taiwan Military starts operation test and evaluation (OT&E) to assess the Tien-Kung III’s performance, effectiveness, and suitability parameters.[vi]

2001:Development of the Tien-Kung III begins.

1998: First deployment of the Tien-Kung II. 

1993: First deployment of the Tien-Kung I.

1981:Development of the Tien-Kung I begins.[vii]

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