The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence (MND) is planning to complete the first phase of its CK-1 Ching-Kuo indigenous defence fighter (IDF) aircraft’s mid life upgrade programme by the end of 2013.
Covering a total of 60 IDFs, the programme will involve installation of enhanced radar, avionics and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as a domestically manufactured-Wan Chien cluster bomb onto the aircraft, Agence France Presse has reported, citing a report submitted by MND to Parliament.
The aircraft will be capable of deployment soon after the upgrade, the report noted, adding that the remaining aircraft of the Republic of China Air Force’s 127 IDF fleet are scheduled to be modernised by 2017.
Launched in 2009 with funding of NT$17.06bn ($0.586m), the first phase covers modernisation of aircraft that have served the air force for over a decade, in an effort to extend their service life by an additional 20 years.
Powered by two TFE1042 engines, the CK-1 Ching-Kuo IDF is an air superiority jet fighter designed to conduct a broad spectrum of air defence and ground attack missions under all weather conditions.
The aircraft was designed and manufactured by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation after the sale of F-20 Tigershark and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft was refused by the US due to mounting pressure from China in the 1980s.
Equipped with enhanced avionics, weapons control system, as well as Golden Dragon CD-53 multi-mode pulse Doppler radar, the aircraft entered operational service in 1992 and serves as Taiwan’s primary combat aircraft, alongside the ageing Lockheed Martin-built F-16A/B fighters and Mirage 2000-5 aircraft.
Image: A CK-1 Ching-Kuo indigenous defence fighter aircraft during its flight. Photo: File image.