While good news for Taiwan, some the release of the upgraded indigenous fighters could serve as ammunition to the US State Department, which could argue that Taiwan doesn not need the F-16s
With efforts to acquire F-16C/D aircraft from the US in limbo, the air force was yesterday given a shot in the arm when it received the first six of a planned 71 upgraded multi-role Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF).
The F-CK-1A/B MLU (“mid-life upgrade”) was unveiled during a handover ceremony at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔航空) plant in Shalu (沙鹿), Greater Taichung, attended by top brass and scores of politicians, including President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang (趙世璋) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).
Years in the making, the upgrade involves a revamping of the aircraft’s avionics and flight control systems, a triple-color heads-up display and anti-electronic jamming functions, as well as the full integration of air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (中山科學研究院), such as the Tien Chien II “Sky Sword.”
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.