F-CK-1C/D cockpit view
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Taiwan’s air force received on June 30 the first six upgraded F-CK-1 A/B Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) in a ceremony presided over by President Ma Ying-jeou at the state-run Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC), writes Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

In Defense News:

AIDC began the $590 million Hsiang Chan Project in 2009 to conduct midlife upgrades on 71 of the 126 IDFs still in operation. All of the upgrades are scheduled for completion and delivery by the end of 2012, said Kang Shiah, AIDC senior vice president.

The Air Force has an option to upgrade the remaining 55 IDFs if budgeting allows, he said. AIDC built 130 IDFs in the 1990s to replace aging F-104 Starfighters

Also on display at the ceremony was a two-seat prototype of the IDF Goshawk. AIDC manufactured two C/D Goshawks but has no plans to mass-produce the fighter until the Air Force finds the budget to buy it, Kang said. Local analysts said the Goshawk build program could go forward if the U.S. fails to release new F-16s.

The U.S. is also has placed on hold a $4.5 billion upgrade program for Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs, along with an F-16 fighter training program at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

Wendell Minnick

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Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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