AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo

TypeFighter
Country of originRepublic of China (Taiwan)
ManufacturerAerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC)
First flight28 May 1989
Introduced1994
Produced1990–2000 (A/B Models)
Numbers built130
Unit costsUS$ 25 and US$ 30 million
Max speedMach 1.8
Max range1,100 km (600 nmi, 680 mi)
DimensionsLength: 14.21 m (46 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 9.46 m (31 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.42 m (14 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 24.2 m² (260 ft²)
WeightEmpty weight: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb)
Loaded weight: 9,072 kg (20,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 12,000 kg (27,000 lb)
Powerplant2 × Honeywell F125-70
Dry thrust: 27 kN (6,000 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 42 kN (9,500 lbf) each
ArmamentGuns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 6-barreled gatling cannon

Missiles:
4× Sky Sword I
4× Sky Sword II

Bombs:
Wan Chien GPS-guided cluster bomb
OperatorsTaiwan

The AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo is designed and constructed by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC). This air superiority jet fighter is also known as the Indigenous Defence Fighter (IDF). The Ching-Kuo is an all-weather, multirole fighter and has one-seater and two-seater variants.

The programme to build the aircraft, referred to as the An Hsiang or Safe Flight programme, began in 1982 with identification of the requirements for an air superiority fighter.

The IDF program was caused because of the United States of America declined to provide F-20 Tigershark and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters to the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) give a pressure to the United States. The Republic of China consequently determined to create an indigenous fighter, with support from American defense corporations.

The Development of Ching Kuo

The initial identification for a substitution for the aging F-5s and F-104s commenced with the XF-6 indigenous fighter project (Ying Yang project), in the late 1970s. Subsequently after the US set up formal relations with the People’s Republic of China and finished the Mutual Defense Treaty with Republic of China, President Chiang Ching-Kuo opted to build up the indigenous defense industry and on 28 August 1980, asked AIDC to develop an indigenous interceptor. Initially, the ROCAF outlined the priority of the XF-6 behind the XA-3 Lei Ming attack aircraft, as a result of the presumed high risks of the XF-6 project.

The rollout ceremony of the first prototype was held in December 1988, when the aircraft was titled after the late President Chiang Ching-Kuo. The Ching-Kuo made its first flight in May 1989.

Ching-Kuo air superiority fighters have been operational in the RoC Air Force of Taiwan (Republic of China) since January 2000 and the last of a total of 130 entered service in July 2000.

The Design of Ching Kuo

AIDC conducted an upgrade package which consists of a digital cockpit, upgraded radar and countermeasures. BAE Systems provided the new 32-bit digital flight control computer. The upgraded C/D aircraft made its first flight in October 2006. Other enhancements incorporate greater internal fuel capacity and reinforced landing gear. Production of the C/D version is plotted to commence in 2009.

The aircraft uses houlder-wing monoplane (single-wing) design, incorporating composite structure materials. The aircraft is built to withstand 9g loading. Its cockpit is fitted with a Martin Baker Mark 12 zero zero ejection seat and a single-piece bubble canopya and equipped with three multifunction displays and a head-up display. The design of the avionics suite is designed in Line Replaceable Units (LRU) to enable for system advancement and the convenient improvement of systems for future technologies.

The Ching Kuo employs a BAE Systems fly-by-wire control system and a Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) inertial navigation system. The AIDC gives trust to the Golden Dragon CD-53, a multi-mode pulse Doppler radar which has look-down, shoot-down capability and can perform in air and sea search mode and has a range over 80 nautical miles.

The Ching Kuo uses the TFE1042 engine. The engine is a product of the International Turbine Engine Corporation (ITEC), collaboration between the AIDC and AlliedSignal. This modular-designed engine has full digital electronic controls.

The kidney-shaped air intakes are mounted low on the centre section of the fuselage, and the two engines are mounted side by side at the rear of the fuselage.

The aircraft is geared up with a variable speed constant frequency electrical power generator, a product of Westinghouse.

The Ching Kuo has an incorporated avionics and weapons control system. The aircraft is armed with a 20mm M61A Vulcan cannon which is mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage with a Photo-Sonics gun camera. There are six hardpoints for holding external stores, with two under the fuselage, one under each wing and one at each wingtip. The Tien Chien I (TC-1) or Skysword I short-range and the Tien Chien II (TC-2) or Skysword II medium-range air-to-air missiles are produced by the China State Arsenals. TC-1 has a range of 5km and has an infrared seeker. TC-2, with a range of 60km, has active radar guidance and is armed with a high-explosive warhead weighing 22kg.

As the Ching Kuo can perform ground attack, it can also carry rocket pods, bombs, cluster bombs or air-to-surface missiles such as Maverick. The fighter is also being modified to bring the TC-2A air-to-surface anti-radiation missile, which utilizes both active and passive radar guidance. TC-2A is being developed by the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology in Taipei.

For sea operation, the fighter can be armed with three anti-ship missiles such as the Hsiung Feng II which is much alike to the Israeli Gabriel missile and produced by the China State Arsenals. Hsiung Feng II has a range of 80km, carries dual-mode active radar and imaging infrared (III) seeker for terminal guidance and is armed with a 225kg semi armour-piercing, high-explosive warhead.

The Ching Kuo video

Taiwanese Air Force: F-CK-1 “Ching-Kuo”

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