• On ROCAF F-104A/B

    Posted on February 14th, 2009 Administrator 3 comments

    I would like to share with you the information on ROCAF F-104A/B that I founded in the declassified series of Commander in Chief Pacific Command History. The 1960 History covers ROCAF’s first batch of 25 F-104A/B. Noteworthy is that it refers to the “reinstallation of M-61 20mm guns on these aircraft.” Does this imply that the US government had intended previously to deliver these aircraft without guns?

    This volume also gives the codename for the project, APPLESEED, which I have not heard of. This project is called Alishan No. 1 in Taiwan.

    Unfortunately these aircraft did not stay in Taiwan for long. In 1965, the US government planned to transfer them to Pakistan. In return, Taiwan would get another squadron of the more advanced F-104G. However, both Chief MAAG China and CINCPAC thought it would be more desirable if ROCAF could keep these F-104A/B.

    The 1966 History has a lot of text on the issue of F-104A/B retention. Although there had been efforts to retain them, DoD informed in April that 18 of these aircraft had been sold to Jordan (instead of Pakistan). Chiang Ching-Kuo, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense at that time, requested that the US reverse the decision. But it was no use and the US Embassy was authorized to inform GRC that these F-104 would be removed as planned. I think aviation historians would be very interested in knowing when these aircraft were shipped, which this document also provides.

    GRC requested a squadron of F-4C from the US in August 1968 but the request was denied. The 1969 History noted that the US Defense Secretary informed in November 1969 that a squadron of excess F-104A/B might be made available to Taiwan at no charge. ROC Defense Minister Huang accepted this offer with pleasure almost immediately.

    The 1970 History noted that the delivery of 22 F-104A and 2 F-104B was authorized on April 3, 1970. Unlike the aircraft delivered in 1960, these F-104 were equipped with the more powerful J79-GE-19 engine. The ROCAF codename for this project is Alishan No. 6. The document only gives the delivery dates for the F-104A but not those for the F-104B.

    I think I have enough material for you to digest. We’ll see what additional information I can dig out from these documents.


    3 responses to “On ROCAF F-104A/B” RSS icon

    • F-104A indeed had some FOD problems with the spent cases of linked M61, & flew without it for much of its initial career. It wasn’t rectified till the advent of linkless M61A1 in 1960. ROCAF F-104 may have been retrofitted with the improved M61A1, or simply put the old M61 back in.

    • Both a reader of the Taiwan published DIIC magazine and I saw photo(s) of F-104 bearing serial number of 423X (If my memory serves, it should be 4235 or 8) published by Chinese Air Force Magazine more than 40 years ago. Please note that between the two batches of F-104As (4201 – 4222 and 4241 – 4262) taken delivery by CNAF there is a vacancy for 18 aircraft (a squadron). Since the US was accustomed to lending aircraft to Taiwan (e.g. RF-101Cs and T-38s) to supplement the sapping strength of CNAF, I cannot help suspecting/thinking that might it have been that the US also lent 18 F-104Cs (those belonged to 479th Tactical Fighter Wing and served in Vietnam) to Taiwan before the arrival of the more powerful (J79-GE-19) F-104As. Could anyone shed light on this ? Thanks very much !

    • Darel Peacock

      Great Article, many thanks! My father flew F-104A/B aircraft as a Capt for the 1170th FMS between June and December of 1960 and this article enhances my understanding of his career.

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