State-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔航空) is facing promising prospects for the coming years, with an advanced trainer program in the works and the likelihood of a major role in a possible F-16A/B upgrade project.
One of the main projects AIDC is working on is a new advanced and completely indigenous trainer, Mike Lee (李適彰), secretary-general of the National Defense Industrial Association of Sino (中華國防工業發展協會), told the Taipei Times on the sidelines of the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition yesterday.
The firm has been working on a XAT-5 prototype, a twin-engine trainer that, according to some industry analysts, could be based on the Indigenous Defense Fighter’s (IDF) airframe.
Photo: J. Michael Cole, Taipei Times
Although he would not provide a time frame and said the air force had yet to green-light a specific model, Lee, who also serves as a special assistant to AIDC chairman Jason Liu (劉介岑), said the next few years would be the perfect time to introduce a new trainer to replace the twin-engine AT-3 — also manufactured by AIDC — that entered service in 1984.
Turning to the mid-life upgrade of Taiwan’s 130 F-CK-1A/B “Ching Kuo” IDFs, Lee said work on the first 71 aircraft was continuing and provided the air force had the budget, a second-phase upgrade, which would complete the remainder of the fleet, could be launched at some point. The first phase of the program has delivered six upgraded aircraft so far.
The configurations involved in the second-phase upgrades are still under discussion between AIDC and the air force, Lee said.
AIDC is also likely to play a role on the Lockheed Martin F-16s.
Not only could the firm be assigned some subcontracting work on the 66 new F-16C/Ds Taiwan has been requesting from the US since 2007, but the previous day a senior official at Lockheed told the Taipei Times that most of the work on the US$4.5 billion program to upgrade Taiwan’s 144 F-16A/Bs would be carried out in Taiwan.
Given the great similarities between the IDF and the F-16, and AIDC’s experience handling both, it is very likely that AIDC would get the contract for the F-16A/B upgrade, though ultimately the decision lies with the air force, Lee said.
The US is expected to announce its final decision on the F-16C/D sale and the F-16A/B upgrade package on Oct. 1.
It has been speculated that if Taiwan fails to obtain the F-16C/Ds, AIDC could proceed with the manufacture of the IDF-II “Goshawk” joint strike fighter, which comes with a larger payload and what is known as a conformal fuel tank that provides greater range.
A model Goshawk was displayed at the launch ceremony for the refurbished IDFs in Greater Taichung on June 30.
Depending on budgets and requirements set by the air force, Lee said AIDC could also embark on a fifth-generation fighter aircraft development program, but he did not elaborate nor did he tie a decision to any outcome on the F-16C/Ds.
Although it could have its hands full if all the programs were to occur simultaneously, Lee said AIDC currently had the manpower and technical base to accomplish all of the tasks.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to