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Aero Industry Development Centre (AIDC) F-CK / Ching Kuo


In the 1980s the United States of America tried to improve its relations with China, and part of this policy prevented the US government from delivering of the Northrop F-20 Tigershark or General Dynamics F-16 Falcon to Taiwan in 1982.

Taiwan decided to develop a fighter itself to supplement and replace its fleet of F-5E Tiger IIs and F-104s and develop a BVR capability.

The program, Indigenous Defensive Fighter (IDF), was based on extensive cooperation between the Taiwanese aerospace industry and several US companies, including General Dynamics, Westinghouse, Honeywell and Lear. The Taiching based Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) was the main contractor. Formed for the development of the engine was the International Turbine Engine Corporation (ITEC), a joint venture between AIDC and Allied Signal.

Commencing development in 1982 at the Aero Industry Development Center (AIDC) at Taichung, the Chiang Ching-Kuo indigenous air defence fighter was named F-CK-1 "Ching-Kuo" after a former president of Taiwan.

The aircraft's primary mission is that of air defense carrying the indigenous Tien Chien (Sky Sword) I Sidewinder-equivalent and the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Tien Chien II. The multi-role aircraft can also be used in the ground attack role or the martitime attack role using its multi-mode Golden Dragon GD-53 radar, which is a license built version of the Westinghouse AN/APG-67(V). For the martime attack role the aircraft can be equipped with up to three indigenous Hsing Feng II AShM. Internally the Ching-Kuo carries the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon.




Three single-seat F-CK-1A and one two-seat F-CK-1B prototypes were ordered and on 10 December 1988 the first IDF prototype was rolled out. On 28 May 1989 the first, a single-seater, made its first flight. In total four prototypes were built, three single-seat and one two-seat variant. The first (A-1) incurring damage on a very public landing attempt. The second A-2 prototype was lost altogether in a Mach 1 speed trials test. After having completed another 10 pre-production aircraft, full production began and deliveries started early 1994. In December 1994 the first squadron of IDF or Ching-Kuo fighters was formed, achieving initial operational capability in 1995.

The Ching-Kuo fighter was powered by two Garrett TFE 1042-70 turbofans, produced in Taiwan by the International Turbo Engine Company and developed in afterburning form under the Yun Han (Cloud Man) programme, each providing 3783kg with maximum afterburning.

The airframe was developed in collaboration with General Dynamics under the Ying Yang (Soaring Eagle) programme; the avionics were acquired and integrated under the leadership of Lear Siegler under the Tien Lei (Sky Thunder) programme, and the primary missile armament was evolved under the Tien Chien (Sky Sword) programme. The cockpit is equipped with a wide angle HUD, two MFD, a side stick, HOTAS and has a 30 degree declined Martin Baker Mk.12 ejection seat.

Armament consisted of one 20mm M61A Vulcan rotary cannon and, for the intercept role, four Sky Sword I short-range and two Sky Sword II medium-range AAMs, the maximum external stores load being 4082kg. The first of 10 pre-production Ching-Kuos (a two-seater) flew in 1992, when production of up to a further 130 was being planned.

In 1998, in service F-CK-1s were rotated to AIDC for a limited post-production upgrade, including GEC-Marconi Combined Interrogator/Transponder (CIT), Litton Improved Radar Warning Receivers (IRWRs), and Rockwell Collins Instrument Landing System (ILS).




Production ended late 1999 at 130. Reportedly 102 single-seaters and 28 two-seaters had been produced. Taiwan had decided to purchase the F-16 when the Bush adminstration authorized the sale of more military technology to Taiwan. Having already acquired Mirage 2000 fighter from French to fill the gap, no more IDF aircraft were needed. Subsequently plans for more powerful engines were scrapped.

The 130th aircraft was delivered on 14 January 2000 and entered service in July. Taiwan operated two wings of Ching-Kuo fighters based at Ching Chuan Kang AB (Taicheng) and Tainan AB.

In 2001, AIDC started development of the upgraded F-CK-1C/D. On October 9, 2006, flight testing of the upgraded F-CK-1 IDF began when first single-seat F-CK-1C prototype (10005/958136) undertook its maiden flight from AIDC's facility at Taichung. On March 27, 2007, the first two-seat F-CK-1D prototype (10006/96-8137) was also unveilled at a ceremony, attended by president Chen Shui-bian, who formally named the new variant Hsung Ying (Goshawk), instead of the earlier announced name of Shiang-Seng.

The F-CK-1C/D upgrade features a new BAE 32-bit flight control computer, improved mission computer and head-up display, advanced fire control radar system and improved weapons capability. Structural enhancements enable it to carry four instead of two Tianchien II (Skysword II) medium-range air-to-air missiles and strengthen the undercarriage. The upgrade also includes two additional fuel tanks in the form of conformal tanks mounted dorsally on the fuselage, first seen on the F-CK-1D prototype.


Variants: F-CK-1A, F-CK-1B, F-CK-1C, F-CK-1D

F-CK-1A Ching-Kuo
Engines: 2 x ITEC (Garrett/AIDC) TFE1042-70 (F125) afterburning turbofans, 42.08 kN /9,460 lb st
Length: 15.98m / 46 ft 7.75in
Height: 4.72m /15 ft 6 in
Wing span: 9.42m / 30 ft 10.25in
Wing area: 24.20 sq.m / 260 sq.ft
Empty weight: 6486 kg / 14,300 lb    
Max Take-Off: 9.526 kg / 21,000 lb
Maximum Speed: 805mph (1,295kmh; 699kts)
Rate-of-Climb: 50,000ft/min (15,240m/min)
Service Ceiling: 50,000ft (15,240m)
Armament: one M61A1 Vulcan 20mm multi-barrel cannon
Pylons: 4 x underwing, 2 x wingtip, 1 or 2 fuselage stations
Accommodation: 1






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