Trying to end a long tradition of using American aircraft for national defense as well as replace aging American F-104 Starfighters, the Chinese Nationalist Airforce of Taiwan has independently created a sleek new air-superiority fighter known as the Ching-Kuo. Designed and produced by the government owned Aero Industry Development Center (AIDC) the first four fighters were delivered to Number 7 "Seed" Squadron on February 10, 1993 and 130 aircraft are planned.
Although designed with air superiority in mind, the Ching-Kuo is capable of carrying anti-shipping and anti-armor missiles and bombs. The radar used by the aircraft is a modified APG-67 known as the Golden Dragon 53. It has a range of 93 miles and can be used for both air and sea search modes depending on the mission. The one to two man crew (depending on variant) sit on Martin-Baker MK 12 zero-zero ejection seats which can be fired by either crew member.
Although there were originally plans to build up to 256 aircraft, a recent lift of an arms embargo on Taiwan allows them to purchase American F-16's and French Mirage 2000's, both of which probably have better performance than the indigenous fighter. Although almost entirely designed by Taiwanese engineers, General Dynamics (an American company now owned by Lockheed Martin, and designer of the F-16) helped to design the fuselage of the aircraft.
Type: Single-seat air superiority fighter.
Powerplant: Two 9,460-lb-thrust ITEC TFE 1042 turbofans with after burner.
Max Speed: 790 mph
Initial Climb Rate: 50,000 fpm
Service Ceiling: 55,000 ft.
Weights: Empty-14,269 lbs.; Max takeoff-26,943 lbs.
Weapons: One internal 20-mm M61A1 canon, six pylons that can carry Sky Sword I air-to air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick anti-armor missiles, Hsiung Feng II anti-shipping missiles, and laser-guided bombs.
Span: 28 ft.
Length: 47 ft. 6 in.
Height: 15 ft. 3 in.
Wing Area: 261 sq. ft.
*"Aircraft of the World: A Complete Guide"