General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcon for the Republic of China Air Force

Last revised September 22, 2015

The Chung Kuo Kung Chuan (Republic of China Air Force) on Taiwan had been seeking the F-16 for a long time, and a deal had first been put together during the Reagan administration, but was not finally approved until 1992 under President George Bush. Under the 1992 contract, 120 Lockheed Martin Block 20 F-16As and 30 two-seat F-16Bs were ordered by Taiwan. The FMS program is known as Peace Phoenix.

Although designated Block 20 F-16A/B, these planes are actually quite a bit more advanced than their designations might suggest. They have the AN/APG-66(V)3 radar, a wide angle HUD, an digital TRNS, GPS, a night-vision goggle compatible cockpit, and a new modular mission computer. However, requests by Taiwan to purchase the AMRAAM missile have so far been blocked.

Initial deliveries began in April of 1997. By the end of the year, the first F-16s had replaced the F-5Es serving with Nos. 21, 22, and 23 Squadrons of the 4th TFW at Chiayi. The next batch of planes were scheduled to equip the 8th TFW at Hualien. An RoCAF training unit has been formed at Luke AFB in Arizona to support this effort. A set of LANTIRN Pathfinder and Sharpshooter navigation and targeting pods will also be provided, but the customary laser target designators are not equipped. The deliveries of all F-16s was completed in 2001. The first RoCAF F-16A/B wing was the 455th TFW (comprising the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd TFS. They replaced the F-5E/F. The second wing was the 401st TFW at Hualien (comprising the 17th , 26th, and 27th TFS)

The Republic of China AF has expressed interest in the F-35 Lightning II, but due to political issues it is unlikely that Taiwan will be able to acquire such an advanced fighter in the near future. As a result, the RoCAF has opted for up to 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters as its interim replacement fighter. However, Beijing has expressed opposition to this sale, and it is currently stalled. But President Obama has agreed to upgrade Taiwan's current fleet of F-16A/B Block 20s to a configuratin similar to that of the proposed F-16V standard with AESA radars.


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