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F-CK-1 C/D Eagle (2001~) "Hsiung Ying" ("Goshawk")

In 2001, the government began a plan to upgrade 71 existing IDFs. Those upgrades include new weapons systems and control computer enhancements. The Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) launched the seven-year Hsiang Sheng (Soaring Upgrade) program in 2000, when the Cabinet allocated $225.5 million to turn two air-interdiction IDFs into "joint strike fighters" with longer range and larger payloads. The most prominent change on the Indigenous Defence Fighter II “Goshawk” fighter aircraft is the conformal fuel tank clearly visible above the wing.

The upgrade allowed the IDF to carry an extra 771 kilograms of fuel and payload, doubles the loadout of Tien Chien 2 (Sky Sword) air-to-air missiles to four, and added the ability to carry the Tien Chien 2A anti-radiation missile and the Wan Chien (Ten Thousand Swords) bomb, both produced by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST). It also upgraded the mission computer, electronic warfare system and radar.

An undated handout photo made available 09 October 2006 by Taiwan's military-owned aircraft maker Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) showed a prototype of the improved version of the home-grown Indigenous Defence Fighter. The prototype has four air-to-air missiles, an improved anti-radiation missile and a "Wan Chien" (Ten Thousand Swords) cluster bomb. The plane would also have upgraded mission computers, electronic warfare systems, an advanced "identification friend or foe" system and improved terrain-following and radar systems.

Taiwan on 09 April 2007 unveiled an upgraded home-made fighter jet which President Chen Shui-bian said demonstrated the island's determination to defend itself against rival China. A prototype of the sleek twin-seater fighter, an improved version of the Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter IDF-II, scrambled for take-off at the Chingchuankang airbase in central Taiwan.

Referring to the modified Indigenous Defense Fighter-II (IDF-II) "Hsiung Ying" ("Goshawk"), President Chen Shui-bian said in March 2007 he hoped the new model would protect the homeland with the ferocity of a Taiwan goshawk. The military unveiled the upgraded version of its locally produced indigenous defense fighter (IDF) warplane, to help boost the nation's defenses against China until Taipei can purchase more modern fighter planes from the West. Vice President Annette Lu, who accompanied Chen to the test flight and naming ceremony at the AIDC in Taichung County, mistakenly referred to the new model as the "Taiwan bald eagle."

Costing the military seven billion Taiwan dollars (212.12 million US) in a project launched in 2001, the Goshawk had increased its endurance time with the installation of two additional fuel tanks, the AIDC said. The new fighter has upgraded mission computers and an advanced fire control radar system, and will be armed with four medium-range air-to-air missiles, it said, adding service entry was scheduled for 2010 if further development was successful.

As the IDFs were designed more than 20 years earlier, in 2008 the Aerospace Industry Development Corp (AIDC) proposed a NT$7 billion (US$230 million) project to upgrade the aircraft, but the Cabinet did not immediately approve the program.

In August 2010, three commercial arms sales related to Taiwan’s air defense radar system and upgrades of existing radars on Taiwan’s Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) were approved by the U.S. government. President Ma Ying-jeou attended a ceremony on 30 June 2011 in the Shalu District of Taichung City marking the delivery of upgraded, locally made Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) aircraft. The president expressed his appreciation to the employees of Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) for their work on the aircraft, and reiterated the government's commitment to maintaining the ROC's defense capabilities and honing the nation's ability to produce warplanes on its own.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, head of the Washington-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, argues that "The IDF program has consistently failed to live up to expectation... In concept and delivery, the platform remains a poor substitute for F-16s. The IP transfers involved in the initial production never resulted in a platform that met expectations, that could be produced for export, nor follow-on programs that might benefit Taiwan’s indigenous defense industry.”

The IDF was designed with the J-8 in mind as a possible foe, and was intend to have performance which can compare with F-16B and Mirage 2000. But due to political reason, AIDC only can use weaker engines which is provided by America. So the final version of IDF is relatively underpowered, despite its light weight.

Because the F-CK-1A/B (IDF) is basically a lightweight air defense-oriented aircraft designed with very low fuel fraction ( < 25%), its operational value is severely restricted due to limited payload/range capability and endurance. For this reason, TAF would much prefer to convert some of its F-CK-1A/Bs to the LIFT/OCU role, if a more suitable fighter (like the F-16C/D) could be acquired to supplant its un-upgraded F-CK-1A/Bs on the front line.

It's unclear just how appropriate converting F-CK-1s to Lead-In Fighter Training (LIFT) would be, particularly as most of the Taiwan IDF fleet consists of single-seat models not well suited to the training role.

After completing the development of IDF Jingguo fighter (1981~1999) and successfully completing mass production, the Ministry of National Defense invested 7 billion yuan in research and development funds in the "ASL Project." An IDF C/D Eagle fighter. The Eagle fighter is equipped with an improved GD53 radar system, an advanced color digital avionics system and a new 32-bit flight control computer. Two conformal fuel tanks can be added to the back of the aircraft to expand the combat radius. The first single-seater aircraft was shipped from the factory on July 19, 1995, and the first single-seater aircraft took off in October of the same year. The two-seater aircraft completed its maiden flight on March 15, 1996, and won the president on March 27, 1996. Named "Eagle Fighter."

In addition to the digitization and modernization of the electronic equipment on the aircraft, the development of the Eagle fighter aircraft is more important than mastering the core software of the aircraft. Therefore, the successful integration of the missiles developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, including the Wanjian missile and the sliding sword two missile, is fully demonstrated Our independent research and development capabilities for air defense weapons have taken a step forward.

The successful R&D and flight test of the Eagle fighter not only attracted the attention of domestic and foreign military media, but also the air force was sure to greatly enhance its combat capabilities, laying the foundation for the follow-up IDF fleet upgrade, and representing Hanxiang's full R&D and production capabilities. The capabilities of high-performance fighters. In the future, the company will uphold the consistent concept of "local technology and national defense independence" and continue to prepare for the development of a new generation of fighters. The Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) spent NT$7 billion (US$200 million) and seven years upgrading the IDFs that it manufactured between 1981 and 1999, with help from the US. The project was approved by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the budgets were earmarked by the Democratic Progressive Party administration, beginning in 2001. The IDF was upgraded to improve its combat-capabilities against Chinese forces. The modifications included improving the jet's flight control system and cockpit, enlarging the fuel tanks and equipping the planes with the capacity to carry air-to-air missiles and anti-radiation missiles. By 2011 work on the first 71 aircraft was continuing and provided the air force had the budget, a second-phase upgrade, which would complete the remainder of the fleet, could be launched at some point.

The Wan Chien (Ten Thousand Swords) is Taiwan’s first joint standoff weapon, was unveiled in January 2013. Modeled after the US-built AGM-154 and the European-built Storm Shadow, the missile is meant to allow Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) to attack runways. This will allow Taiwan to take any fight with China “downtown”. By 2014 the IDF was waiting to begin upgrades of its second wing to handle the Wan Chien. The first wing of IDFs finished its mid-life upgrade program in 2013.

Taiwan has been quite reluctant to invest heavily in the MLU for the remaining 56 F-CK-1A/Bs that belong to the 427th Taiwan Fighter Wing based at CCK AFB in Taichung, as it would yield only a very marginal improvement in capability. An upgrade for this second batch of F-CK-1A/Bs was originally scheduled for program start in 2013, with completion in 2017, at a cost of US$534 million (NT$15.71 billion). The persistent U.S. Government refusal to formally consider Taiwan’s request for new F-16C/Ds may force MND to support this clearly ineffective investment, despite the collateral budget impact from the F-16A/B upgrade program.

Despite the completion of the upgrade project, as of 2016 the military had yet to decide on whether to further upgrade the island's existing IDF fleet.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2021 12:15:07 ZULU