Taiwan hopes to introduce its new fighter jets next year
Three prototypes consisting of one flight test aircraft and two static ground test aircraft are said to have been built at a development cost of USD 525 million.
According to a Taiwanese media publication, the initial design and interior details were completed by the “Chinese Academy of Sciences Project Angel Team”.
To shorten the research and development schedule, the aircraft was initially planned to upgrade the Honeywell/ITEC F125-GA-100 engine used by the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo fighter aircraft.
However, the Taiwanese government then proposed the purchase of General Electric’s F414-GE-400 engines used by South Korea’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and KF-21 Boramae. The new jet’s design will be inspired by the US-made Lockheed Martin F-35, which resembles the KF-21 and closely parallels the US fighter.
The prototype of the new fighter jet was initially planned to be presented in May 2024, before President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down. However, it is difficult for the first prototype before 2025.
The development of this aircraft requires various equipment that must be provided as soon as possible, including the fighter’s ejection seat and avionics system, AESA radar.
Currently, the Taiwan Air Force (ROCAF) operates more than 100 F-16, 52 Mirage 2000, and 128 F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo fighter jets.
About 20 F-5Es are also used as trainer aircraft. In August 2020, Taiwan ordered 66 new F-16 fighter jets worth 62 billion USD.