|Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon||Service History||Fleet Images||Fleet Information|
The ROCAF had been expressing its interest in acquiring
the F-16 since the late 1970s.
General Dynamics even came up with a downgraded variant,
the F-16/79, which was believed to be specifically targeted
at the ROCAF.
However, political concerns had kept the sale of the F-16 to
Taiwan from materializing for about fifteen years, until the
During his 1992 presidential re-election campaign, then-United States President George Bush finally approved the sale of 120 F-16A and 30 F-16B to Taiwan, as part of his campaign strategy. This was reportedly the second largest Foreign Military Sale in US history up to that time. The program was codenamed Peace Fenghuang (Peace Phoenix).
Although not the C/D version that the ROCAF had wanted, these F-16A/B are far more advanced than the earlier A/B models that Lockheed Martin gave them a new block number, the Block 20. The ROCAF F-16 are roughly equivalent to the Mid-Life Update (MLU) version, but they are not exactly the same.
Westinghouse AN/APG-66(V)3 fire-control radar (157 ordered), Hazeltine AN/APX-113(V) Advanced IFF (AIFF), Honeywell LCD color displays, Texas Instruments Modular Mission Computer, and Fairchild Defense Digital Terrain System. The latter employs British Aerospace Systems & Equipments (BASE)'s TERPROM Terrain Profile Management) terrain correlation algorithm. The TERPROM source code is incorporated in the 32Mb Fairchild Defense DTC cartridges, capable of storing 400nm2 of digital terrain data.
For self protection, the Block 20 F-16A/B has ALR-56M advanced radar warning receivers and AN/ALE-47 chaff/flare dispensers. The cockpit is night vision goggle compatible. All ROCAF F-16A/B are powered by the F100-PW-220 turbofan engine. It is worth noting that ROCAF F-16 retain their inflight refueling capabilities, although there is no tanker aircraft in the ROCAF.
In May 1994, the ROCAF ordered 80 Raytheon AN/ALQ-184(V)7 ECM pods as F-16's jammers. In spite of the advanced avionics on board, ROCAF F-16 intially did not have the software required for firing the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Instead, the ROCAF ordered 600 AIM-7M Sparrow and 900 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles. ROCAF F-16 initially also lacked ground attack capabilities.
The situation started to change in 1998. Since then, the US government approved several arms sales which greatly boosted ROCAF F-16's potency:
Service HistoryUSAF 56th Fighter Wing Before the F-16 were delivered to Taiwan, a three-year transition training program was instituted at Luke AFB, Arizona to develop mission-ready pilots. The first group of the seed crew were sent to the US on March 15, 1995. These pilots were trained by the 21st TFS of the 56th FW, which was re-formed at Luke to accommodate these Taiwanese pilots.
Fourteen of Taiwan's F-16 are currently stationed in the US for training ROCAF pilots, most of which are based at Luke AFB, Arizona. Though officially the property of Taiwan, these F-16 wear USAF markings. Those at Luke AFB wear the "LF" (Luke Falcon) tail code and the 21st TFS "Gamblers" tail flash. F-16B 93-0822 is assigned to Edwards AFB, California, wearing the "ED" tail code. This aircraft test-fired the AIM-120C at Tyndall AFB, Florida, on December 13, 2004.
Following the transition training program, ROCAF training at Luke AFB entered the second phase, which was fighter tactics improvement training. The third stage, involing advanced tactical air combat, began in March 2002, when two ROCAF Majors were sent to the US, and will be completed at the end of 2005. As of 2004, there have been eight ROCAF pilots who had completed the advanced course. ROCAF has already entered an agreement with USAF for the fourth phase of the joint training program, which is to commence in 2006.
455th Tactical Fighter Wing
On July 1, 1998,the Ministry of National Defense approved the re-establishment of the 14th TFS, originally a unit of the 8th TFG. The 14th TFS was to act as an Operation Conversion Unit (OCU), responsible for conversion training of all ROCAF F-16 pilots. It was commanded by a Colonel and reported directly to the 455th TFW Commander. The 14th TFS was commisioned on November 1, 1999, and it was upgraded as the 14th TFG in 2003. After fulfilling the mission it was established for, the 14th TFG stood down on October 16, 2004.
The 21st, 22nd, and 23rd TFS were upgraded to the TFG status on November 1, 2004, in the largest restructure undertaken by ROCAF since 1999. At the same time, the original 4th TFG at Chiayi went into history. Each of the new TFG is commanded by a Colonel, but the number of aircraft assigned is not much different from that for a Squadron. Although their official English designation is Tactical Fighter Group, the Chinese designation literally means Operations Group.
401st Tactical Composite Wing
The 17th, 26th, and 27th TFS of the 401st TCW were promoted to the 17th, 26th, and 27th TFG on November 1, 2004. The legendary 5th TFG stood down on the same day.
The career of ROCAF F-16 had a very rough start. There had been four crashes, three of which were fatal, in a span of mere two years. Political and public criticism intensified with accusations that these F-16 used second-handed substandard parts. Only the cause of the fourth accident was conclusively determined. According to the ROCAF, it was caused by the malfunctioning of an engine nozzle control component. Reportedly the ROCAF has since asked the US government for compensation.
Weapon Testing Milestones
After some growing pains, ROCAF F-16 began to demonstrate their versatile capabilities in several live-fire tests and exercises: