A successful attempt by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to develop external pods for the nation’s locally made fighter jets would allow the military to shore up its electronic warfare capability, a military source said yesterday.
Development of the external pods would address the Taiwan-made Indigenous Defense Fighter’s (IDF) lack of electronic warfare capabilities, the source said, adding that dependable pods would considerably enhance the fighter jets’ combat effectiveness.
Larger fighter jets — such as the F-16Vs that Taiwan is purchasing from the US — come with such equipment built in, the source added.
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times
The IDF’s narrower frame cannot accommodate the electronics, so the military commissioned the institute to design an indigenous external pod.
Also, the number of companies that supply radar warning receivers has been dwindling.
The air force’s Phoenix Rising Project has purchased external pods with digital radio frequency memory for the nation’s fleet of F-16A/B jets, which are receiving F-16V upgrades — a source of controversy.
The Control Yuan in 2018 told the Republic of China Air Force Command Headquarters to improve its protocols for purchasing equipment.
However, the pod development might encounter obstacles regarding US research and development on new pods, the source said.
Delivery of the 66 F-16Vs would not be affected, but the US is reassessing the functionality and overhead cost of the F-16V’s electronic warfare suite, Air Force Command Headquarters said on March 21, adding that it would consider purchasing any add-ons or making other changes within the guidelines of the Special Act for New Fighter Acquisition (新式戰機採購特別條例及預算).
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