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AIDC F-CK-1A/B Ching Kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter Details & Weapons Fleet Images Fleet Information
Taiwan initiated development of the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) started in May 1982, after the U.S. government refused to sell F-16 and F-20 to Taiwan. The Aero Industry Development Center (AIDC) under ROCAF was in charge of the program formlly launched in 1983, which was codenamed "An Hsiang" (Safe Flight). An Hsiang consisted of the following four development projects:
  • "Ying Yang" (Soaring Eagle): airframe development,
  • "Yun Han" (Cloud Han): engine development,
  • "Tien Lei" (Sky Thunder): avionics development, and
  • "Tien Chien" (Sky Sword): air-to-air missile development.
Though an indigenous program, development of IDF involved considerable assistance from the following U.S. companies: General Dynamics (airframe), Garrett (engine), and General Electric (radar).

The first prototype 10001, commonly referred to as A-1 within AIDC by its construction number, was rolled out on December 10, 1988, in a ceremony at AIDC presided over by then President Lee Teng-Hui, and the aircraft was formally named "Ching Kuo", in memory of the late President Chiang Ching-Kuo. Ministry of National Defense subsequently designated it F-CK-1, where F stands for Fighter, CK for Ching Kuo, and 1 for the first domestically developed fighter.

To prepare for the first flight, AIDC conducted the First Flight Readiness Review (FFRR) from January 9 to 19, 1989, during which 123 items for improvement or for further clarification were identified, most of which were attributed to the Digital Flight Control System (DFCS). After weeding out these problems, AIDC set the date for the maiden flight, codenamed "Jen Yang" Exercise, on May 28, 1989. With F-5F 5391 and AT-3 0825 acting as chase aircraft, IDF 10001 successfully took off for the first time at 1021 hours in the hand of AIDC's test pilot Colonel Kang-Ming Wu. Although the first flight was scheduled to last for one hour, it was cut short when the ground control received a fault warning signal. IDF 10001 landed safely at 1043 hours, ending the 22-minute maiden flight.

A total of four prototypes were built. The first three, 10001 A-1, 10002 A-2, and 10003 A-3, were single-seat aircraft and wore a blue-white-red color scheme. Prototype number four, 10004 B-1, was a two-seater. It was also the only prototype that was painted in camouflage. Prototype Nos. 2, 3, and 4 made their first flights on September 27, 1989, January 10, 1990, and July 10, 1990, respectively.

Work on the ten pre-production aircraft (six single-seat, four two-seat) started in October, 1990, and were delivered during 1992-1993. The proposed number of IDF built was slashed from 250 to 130, with 28 two-seat aircraft, after the Bush administration agreed to sell 150 Block 20 F-16A/B to Taiwan. The first production was handed to ROCAF in January, 1994.

The fuselage of IDF closely resembles F-16 and F/A-18 since the program has received assistance from U.S defense contractors. The cockpit is very similar to that of F-16, with the sidestick controller on the right, the throttles on the left, and the Martin-Baker Mk 12 zero/zero ejection seat sloped at thirty degrees. There is one Elbit HUD, two Bendix MFDs, and Honeywell H423 inertial navigation system. Allied Signals' AiResearch Division helped design the environment control system. Canopies on preproduction aircraft and two-seaters are hinged on starboard side and open to port; while those on production single-seat aircraft are hinged on the rear and open upward.

IDF also has almost-full-span wing flaperons and all-moving tailplanes. Its airframe is basically metal, with composite material used on the rudder, the radome, flaperons, and speed brakes. The single M-61 20 mm cannon is mounted on the port wing strake corner.

The production of IDF suffered a setback in 1995 when F-CK-1A 1408 crashed in sea on July 4 due to problems associated with the fuel system . Some 40 aircraft already handed to the air force were grounded for fuel system modification. Production was halted for six months. A total of 131 IDF were built when the program ended, including an attrition replacement. The delivery of the last two production aircraft, 1502 (88-8134) and 1503 (88-8135), took place on January 14, 2000.

In 1998, IDF in service began to rotate back to AIDC's Hangers 17 and 18 for post-production upgrades. Upgrades that have been publicly revealed include a GEC-Marconi (now BAE SYSTEMS) Combined Interrogator/Transponder (CIT), Litton Improved Radar Warning Receivers (IRWRs), and Rockwell Collins Instrument Landing System (ILS).

Service History

Badge of the 427th TFW 427th TFW Badge of the 3rd TFG (not current) 3rd TFG (not current) Badge of the 7th TFG 7th TFG Badge of the 8th TFS (not current) 8th TFS (not current) Badge of the 28th TFG 28th TFG
The 10 pre-production IDF were first delivered to the 7th TFS of the 3rd TFG at Ching Chuan Kang AB on November 22, 1993, for training seed instructors. The 8th TFS of the 3rd TFG was the second squadron to receive the IDF. It was commissioned on December 28, 1994 and was declared operational in January, 1995. The last IDF squadron of the 3rd TFG, the 28th TFS, was commissioned on November 22, 1995. The 427th (3rd) TFW completed the conversion process and achieved IOC on April 15, 1997.

On November 1, 2004, in an effort to retain experienced pilots at the flight lines, the ROCAF underwent a major reorganization in which all front-line Fighter Squadrons were upgraded to status of Tactical Fighter Groups (though the Chinese designation literally means Operations Group), while the original Tactical Fighter Groups were disbanded. The 3rd TFG at CCK AB stood down as a result. In addition, the 8th TFS was disbanded at the same time, leaving the 7th and 28th TFG the only two flying units in the 427th TFW.

Badge of the 443rd TFW 443rd TFW Badge of the 1st TFG (not current) 1st TFG (not current) Badge of the 1st TFG 1st TFG Badge of the 9th TFG 9th TFG
The other TFW to convert to the IDF is the 443rd (1st) TFW based at Tainan AB. Its 1st TFS and 3rd TFS, subordinate to the 1st TFG, were commissioned on February 19, 1998, and on January 7, 1999, respectively. The 443rd TFW, together with the 9th TFS, was commissioned in a ceremony held on July 14, 2000, presided over by the newly elected President Chen. The 443rd TFW was the first fighter wing undertaking ROCAF's reorganization plan. Its three Fighter Squadrons became Tactical Fighter Groups at the end of 2002, when the original 1st TFG stood down at the same time.

The manufactuer AIDC retained all three remaining prototypes, 10001, 10003, and 10004 for further development purposes. It also keeps F-CK-1A 1417, which had been damaged in a landing accident on August 31, 1994, but had been repaired. This aircraft is used as a testbed for new systems.

Details & Weapons

This is the front view of the prototype IDF 10003. Note that the main undercarriage legs are slightly canted outwards. All four prototypes have been fitted with a large air data probes, although 10004 is now fitted with a production-model pitot static tube.

Although IDF 10001 was fitted with a radar and a grey radome in the wake of the loss of 10002, it has been since returned to its original radarless configuration. The nosewheel door of IDF 10003 is fitted with a large antenna, whose function is unknown. In this photo, the nosewheel door of IDF 10004 does not have any antenna, although marks indicating that it has been worked on are visible. Note the regular pitot static tube.

All single-seat prototype IDF feature a single-piece upwards hinged canopy. The boarding ladder shown is standard in ROCAF. The UHF/IFF blade antenna is installed under the starboard engine air intake on all four prototypes. It is relocated to the port side on the pre-production and production models. IDF's tailplanes are of the all-moving type. At the root of the tailfin is the upper VHF/UHF antenna. Note the location of the formation lighting strip.

On the first prototype, the tail formation lighting strips are positioned slightly lower than those on later aircraft. Note the grey mounting for the recovery parachute for spins tests. The tail section of IDF 10004 is the same as that of 10003. An important responsibility for IDF 10003 is public aerial demonstration. For this purpose, a pair of smoke generators are carried on the wingtip launch rails.

 Production Models
All pre-production and production aircraft feature a grey radome. Note that there is only one incidence probe on the port side of the nose. The calligraphy on the nose reads "Ching Kuo". At the time when the first three Squadrons were commissioned, their aircraft wore no unit markings. Later in about 1997, toned-down squadron markings started to appaer on the nose. When the Tactical Fighter Squadrons were upgraded to the Operations Group status, the aircraft were also applied full-color squadron markings.

The six pre-production single-seat IDF has a three-piece canopy, with a fixed windscreen, a rear section, and a port-hinged middle section. All production single-seaters feature a single-piece upward-hinged canopy. All pre-production and production two-seat IDF feature a large two-piece, port-hinged canopy.

The forward radar warning receiver (RWR) antennas are located on the (Leading Edge Root eXtensions) LERXes. This is the port-side view. Note the (covered) vent for cannon gases. This is a view of the starboard RWR. Also note the (covered) exhaust for the Integrated Power System (IPS), consisting of Auxiliary and Emergency Power Units (APU and EPU). The UHF/IFF antenna is relocated to the port side on the pre-production and production models. The centerline pylon can carry a 275-US gal (1041-liter) external fuel tank. But the aircraft in this photo is carrying a pod housing test equipment.

The inboard underwing pylons can accommodate 275-US gal (1041-liter) external fuel tanks. The almost full-span flaperons are made of composite material. Note the rib on the upper surface, which was introduced in the wake of the crash of 10002; a rib is also fitted to the lower surface. The IPS exhaust is visible in this photo. After the crash of 10002, composite tailplanes were introduced. They are lowered when the aircraft is at rest. The split airbrakes are located inboard the tailplanes.

The AN/ALE-47 chaff/flare dispensers are installed under the rear fuselage, slightly aft the tail formation lighting strips. The tail fin features an all-composite rudder. An anti-collision strobe light is installed on the top. When unit markings first appeared on IDF, the group markings were applied to the tail fin. Following the stand-down of IDF groups, the tail fin was repainted with the wing markings.

These two photographs show the IDF's engine nozzles and the runway arrester hook from different angles. The tail navigation light is located between the two nozzles.

 Inside the IDF

This study shows the Combined Interrogator/Transponder (CIT) modification to IDF: four antennas for the APX-113(V) Advanced IFF are installed before the windshield. This photo also shows the pitot head for production models, the two dynamic pressure probes, and the port-side incidence probe. This photo shows the CIT modification in progress, before the four AIFF antennas are installed. The difference in how the outer two antennas and the inner two are installed can be seen in this photo.


Fleet Images

F-CK-1A 10001 (11/26/2000) 10001 F-CK-1A 10002 (Photo by AIDC) 10002 (AIDC photo) F-CK-1A 10003 (08/04/2002) 10003 F-CK-1B 10004 (11/26/2000) 10004
F-CK-1A 1406 in 3rd TFG marking 1406 F-CK-1A 1407 1407 F-CK-1A 1416 in 3rd TFG marking 1416 F-CK-1A 1417 in 3rd TFG marking 1417
F-CK-1A 1418 in 3rd TFG marking 1418 F-CK-1A 1422 in 3rd TFG marking 1422 F-CK-1A 1423 in 3rd TFG marking 1423 F-CK-1A 1427 in 3rd TFG marking 1427
F-CK-1A 1428 in 3rd TFG marking 1428 F-CK-1A 1432 in 3rd TFG marking 1432 F-CK-1A 1435 in 3rd TFG marking 1435 F-CK-1A 1436 in 3rd TFG marking 1436
F-CK-1A 1441 in 3rd TFG marking 1441 F-CK-1A 1444 in 3rd TFG marking 1444 F-CK-1A 1445 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1445 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1446 in 3rd TFG marking 1446
F-CK-1A 1448 in 3rd TFG marking 1448 F-CK-1A 1449 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1449 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1452 in 3rd TFG marking 1452 F-CK-1A 1458 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1458 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1A 1460 in 1st TFG marking 1460 F-CK-1A 1466 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1466 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1467 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1467 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1469 in 1st TFG marking 1469
F-CK-1A 1471 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1471 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1472 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1472 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1474 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1474 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1475 in 1st TFG marking 1475
F-CK-1A 1476 in 1st TFG marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1476 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1478 in 1st TFG marking 1478 F-CK-1A 1479 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1479 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1481 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1481 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1A 1482 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1482 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1484 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1484 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1486 in 1st TFG marking 1486 F-CK-1A 1488 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1488 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1A 1490 in 1st TFG marking 1490 F-CK-1A 1493 in 1st TFG marking 1493 F-CK-1A 1496 in 1st TFW marking 1496 F-CK-1A 1497 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1497 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1A 1498 in 1st TFG marking 1498 F-CK-1A 1499 in 1st TFG marking 1499 F-CK-1A 1500 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1500 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1501 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1501 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1A 1502 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1502 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1A 1503 in 1st TFW marking (Photo by Jason Tu) 1503 (Photo by Jason Tu)
F-CK-1B 1601 in 3rd TFG marking 1601 F-CK-1B 1602 in 3rd TFG marking 1602 F-CK-1B 1604 in 3rd TFG marking 1604 F-CK-1B 1605 in 3rd TFG marking 1605
F-CK-1B 1606 in 3rd TFG marking 1606 F-CK-1B 1609 (Photo by Jason Tu) 1609 (Photo by Jason Tu) F-CK-1B 1610 in 3rd TFG marking 1610 F-CK-1B 1611 1611
F-CK-1B 1612 in 3rd TFG marking 1612 F-CK-1B 1613 in 3rd TFG marking 1613 F-CK-1B 1617 in 3rd TFG marking 1617 F-CK-1B 1621 in 1st TFG marking 1621
F-CK-1B 1622 in 1st TFG marking 1622 F-CK-1B 1623 in 1st TFW marking 1623 F-CK-1B 1624 in 1st TFG marking 1624 F-CK-1B 1628 in 1st TFG marking 1628

Fleet Information


Tail No. Serial No. Remark
1000278-8002crashed on 07/12/91; pilot killed


Tail No. Serial No. Remark


Tail No. Serial No. Remark
140881-8018crashed on 07/04/95; one ejected to safety
141783-8031made belly-landing on 08/31/94; repaired


Tail No. Serial No. Remark
146586-8090Damaged when overshot runway 04/15/02; repaired by AIDC & redelivered to ROCAF 09/20/04


Tail No. Serial No. Remark


Tail No. Serial No. Remark
161784-8059crashed on 04/29/03; two ejected & injured
162587-8104crashed on 09/27/03; two ejected to safety

 Last update: 10/19/08 TaiwanAirPower > Air Force > Top