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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 early 1990s.

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:

  • June 1, 1998: 28 sets of Pathfinder/Sharpshooter navigation/targeting pods ( export version of the LANTIRN system).
  • August 27, 1998: 58 air-launch AGM-84L Harpoon missiles and eight training rounds.
  • June 7, 2000: 48 AN/ALQ-184 and 39 sets of Pathfinder/Sharpshooter pods.
  • September 28, 2000: 200 AIM-120C and 292 launchers. (However, only 120 missiles were ordered.)
  • September 5, 2001: 40 AGM-65G Maverick infrared guided air-to-ground missile, 48 LAU-117 launchers, 10 training missiles.
  • July 1, 2002: Upgrade of F-16 Mission Modular Computer 3000 to 3051 configuration.

Service History

USAF 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.

6610 (93-0711) and 6620 (93-0721) in USAF markings flying in formation in the US 6610 (93-0711) taking fuel from a USAF KC-10 along with 6620 (93-0721) 6603 (93-0704), 6607 (93-0708), 6610 (93-0711), and 6620 (93-0721) flying in formation with a USAF KC-10
6610 (93-0711) and 6620 (93-0721) in USAF markings flying in formation in the US (USAF photo) 6610 (93-0711) and 6620 (93-0721) in USAF markings flying in formation in the US (USAF photo) 6610 (93-0711) and 6620 (93-0721) in USAF markings flying in formation in the US (USAF photo)

455th Tactical Fighter Wing
Handover of F-16 to the ROCAF commenced in US in July 1996. The first two F-16, consisting of one A model and one B model, were flown back to Taiwan by Lockheed-Martin and 21st TFS pilots on April 14, 1997. The first ROCAF F-16 squadron, the 21st TFS of the 455th TFW, was commissioned with 18 aircraft assigned at Chiayi AB on October 4, 1997. The other two squadrons of the 455th TFW, the 22nd and 23rd TFS, were commissioned on July 23 and December 17, 1998, respectively. On December 18, 2002, the 455th TFW obtained its IOC status.

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 second ROCAF TFW to receive the F-16 is the 401st TCW. Originally based at Taoyuan AB, the 401st TCW relocated to Hualien on July 1, 1998. Shortly after the relocation, the 401st TCW received its first F-16 on July 14. The 17th TFS was the first F-16 squadron at Hualien; it was commissioned on March 18, 1999. The second unit of the 401st TCW to fly the F-16 was the 26th TFS, which was commissioned on December 16, 1999. The 401st TCW was declared operational on January 16, 2002, during the "Feng Yang" (Soaring Phoenix) exercise, presided over by President Chen.

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:

  • On May 23, 2000, F-16B 6816 of the 23rd TFS/455th TFW fired an AIM-7M at an MQM-107 target drone. This marks the first firing of the AIM-7M by the ROCAF.
  • On October 7, 2000, F-16A 6630 of the 22nd TFS/455th TFW for the first time shot an AGM-65B "Scene Mag" Maverick missile at an simulated target.
  • Local media reported that ROCAF pilots test fired the AIM-120C in Guam and in Arizona in October 2000 and early 2001, respectively.
  • On April 3, 2001, F-16B 6821 of the 26th TFS/401st TCW test-fired an AGM-84L from its port-side station at a decommissioned destroyer. This test, which took place at the Chiupeng Test Range during the annual Hankuang 17 Exercise, is believed to be the first firing of the AGM-84 from an F-16 anywhere in the world.

Fleet Images

 F-16A
F-16A 6603 (in USAF marking) 6603 (in USAF marking; USAF photo) F-16A 6610 (in USAF marking) 6610 (in USAF marking; USAF photo) F-16A 6611 6611 F-16A 6612 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6612 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6613 6613 F-16A 6614 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6614 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6615 6615 F-16A 6616 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6616 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6619 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6619 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6620 (in USAF marking) 6620 (in USAF marking; USAF photo) F-16A 6623 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6623 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6625 6625
F-16A 6626 6626 F-16A 6627 6627 F-16A 6629 6629 F-16A 6630 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6630 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6631 6631 F-16A 6633 6633 F-16A 6634 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6634 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6636 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6636 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6637 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6637 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6639 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6639 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6642 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6642 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6644 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6644 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6648 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6648 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6649 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6649 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6650 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6650 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6655 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6655 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6657 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6657 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6659 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6659 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6660 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6660 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6666 6666
F-16A 6668 6668 F-16A 6670 6670 F-16A 6673 6673 F-16A 6675 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6675 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6676 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6676 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6683 6683 F-16A 6684 6684 F-16A 6685 6685
F-16A 6688 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6688 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6694 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6694 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6695 6695 F-16A 6700 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6700 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16A 6702 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6702 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6706 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6706 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16A 6711 6711 F-16A 6718 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6718 (Photo by Jason Tu)
 F-16B
F-16B 6803 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6803 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6805 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6805 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6806 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6806 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6808 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6808 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16B 6809 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6809 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6810 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6810 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6811 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6811 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6813 6813
F-16B 6814 6814 F-16B 6815 6815 F-16B 6816 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6816 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6817 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6817 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16B 6818 6818 F-16B 6819 6819 F-16B 6820 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6820 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6821 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6821 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16B 6822 6822 F-16B 6824 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6824 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6825 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6825 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-16B 6827 (Photo by Jason Tu) 6827 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-16B 6829 6829

Fleet Information

 F-16A

Tail No. Serial No. Remark
660193-0702assigned to USAF 416th FLTS; tested recon pod at NAS Fort Worth in 2003
660293-0703assigned to USAF 21st FS
660393-0704assigned to USAF 21st FS
660493-0705assigned to USAF 21st FS
660593-0706assigned to USAF 21st FS
660693-0707assigned to USAF 21st FS
660793-0708assigned to USAF 21st FS
660893-0709assigned to USAF 21st FS
660993-0710
661093-0711assigned to USAF 21st FS
661193-0712
661293-0713
661393-0714
661493-0715
661593-0716
661693-0717
661793-0718
661893-0719
661993-0720
662093-0721assigned to USAF 21st FS
662193-0722assigned to USAF 21st FS
662293-0723
662393-0724
662493-0725
662593-0726
662693-0727
662793-0728
662893-0729
662993-0730
663093-0731
663193-0732
663293-0733
663393-0734
663493-0735
663593-0736
663693-0737
663793-0738
663893-0739w/o 06/01/99
663993-0740
664093-0741
664193-0742
664293-0743
664393-0744
664493-0745
664593-0746
664693-0747
664793-0748
664893-0749
664993-0750
665093-0751
665193-0752
665293-0753
665393-0754
665493-0755
665593-0756
665693-0757
665793-0758
665893-0759
665993-0760
666093-0761

 

Tail No. Serial No. Remark
666193-0762
666293-0763
666393-0764
666493-0765
666593-0766
666693-0767
666793-0768
666893-0769
666993-0770
667093-0771
667193-0772
667293-0773
667393-0774
667493-0775
667593-0776
667693-0777
667793-0778
667893-0779
667993-0780
668093-0781w/o 08/18/99
668193-0782
668293-0783
668393-0784
668493-0785
668593-0786
668693-0787
668793-0788
668893-0789
668993-0790
669093-0791
669193-0792
669293-0793
669393-0794
669493-0795
669593-0796
669693-0797
669793-0798
669893-0799
669993-0800
670093-0801
670193-0802
670293-0803
670393-0804
670493-0805
670593-0806
670693-0807
670793-0808
670893-0809
670993-0810
671093-0811
671193-0812
671293-0813
671393-0814
671493-0815
671593-0816
671693-0817
671793-0818
671893-0819
671993-0820
672093-0821

 F-16B

Tail No. Serial No. Remark
680193-0822assigned to USAF 416th FLTS
680293-0823assigned to USAF 21st FS
680393-0824prev. assigned to USAF 21st FS
680493-0825assigned to USAF 21st FS
680593-0826prev. assigned to USAF 21st FS
680693-0827prev. assigned to USAF 21st FS
680793-0828assigned to USAF 21st FS
680893-0829prev. assigned to USAF 21st FS
680993-0830assigned to USAF 21st FS
681093-0831
681193-0832
681293-0833
681393-0834w/o 01/25/99
681493-0835
681593-0836

 

Tail No. Serial No. Remark
681693-0837
681793-0838
681893-0839
681993-0840
682093-0841
682193-0842
682293-0843
682393-0844
682493-0845
682593-0846
682693-0847
682793-0848
682893-0849w/o 03/20/98
682993-0850
683093-0851

 Last update: 04/13/08 TaiwanAirPower > Air Force > Top