report by: Thierry Letellier
Hualien Airport Office was completed in May 1962. At that time, it was a remodeling of Hualien Military Airport’s gravel runway with additional building of waiting area, apron as well as facilitation of various guidance, communications equipment into a Class B Airport Office.The station is an airport for civil and military uses, with 11.5 hectares of land borrowed from the air force for commercial use. The main facilities include one S/N 9,098 foot long runway, one each taxiway on east and westUnits previously stationed at Hualien have relocated to a newer airbase, Cha Shan, located about 2-5 km away. The new and older airbases are reportedly interconnected through taxiways links.Hualien AB still has some military presence, in the form of ROCAF units equipped with old-style HAS, as well as a ROC Navy aviation station equipped with both helicopters and S-2Ts.
The Republic of China Military has no less than seven units based at Hualien, and as well as being a local airport, it makes for a very busy airfield. The most numerous aircraft on show is the ROCAF based General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon which equip a total of 4 squadrons of the 401st Tactical Air Wing Mixed (TAW). The 17th TFG, 26th TFG and 27th TFG are served by the F-16A and F-16B variant whilst the RF-16A equips the 12th Tactical Recce Group (TRG) alongside the Northrop RF-5E Tiger-eye and F-5F Tiger II two seater.Malataw is a word you hear a lot in this area, this is the name of the local Sun God and the Wing is known as the Malataw Wing and all the aircraft are suitably adorned with the Sun God symbol on the tail finsThe station is an airport for civil and military uses, with 11.5 hectares of land borrowed from the air force for commercial use.
During his 1992 presidential re-election campaign, then-United States President George Bush finally approved the sale of 120 F-16A and 30 F-16B to Taiwan, as part of his campaign strategy. This was reportedly the second largest Foreign Military Sale in US history up to that time. The program was codenamed Peace Fenghuang (Peace Phoenix). In May 1994, the ROCAF ordered 80 Raytheon AN/ALQ-184(V)7 ECM pods as F-16’s jammers. In spite of the advanced avionics on board, ROCAF F-16 intially did not have the software required for firing the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Instead, the ROCAF ordered 600 AIM-7M Sparrow and 900 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles. ROCAF F-16 initially also lacked ground attack capabilities.
In January 2006, the ROCAF announced interest in procuring planes with VSTOL capability, especially the F-35. The ROCAF also sought next-generation upgrades to its current F-16s and Mirage 2000-5s and, in mid-2006, announced plans to buy 66 F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft from the US for $3.1 billion USD. Although not the C/D version that the ROCAF had wanted, these F-16A/B are far more advanced than the earlier A/B models that Lockheed Martin gave them a new block number, the Block 20.
The ROCAF F-16 are roughly equivalent to the Mid-Life Update (MLU) version, but they are not exactly the same. Westinghouse AN/APG-66(V)3 fire-control radar (157 ordered), Hazeltine AN/APX-113(V) Advanced IFF (AIFF), Honeywell LCD color displays, Texas Instruments Modular Mission Computer, and Fairchild Defense Digital Terrain System. The latter employs British Aerospace Systems & Equipments (BASE)’s TERPROM Terrain Profile Management) terrain correlation algorithm.
The TERPROM source code is incorporated in the 32Mb Fairchild Defense DTC cartridges, capable of storing 400nm2 of digital terrain data. For self protection, the Block 20 F-16A/B has ALR-56M advanced radar warning receivers and AN/ALE-47 chaff/flare dispensers. The cockpit is night vision goggle compatible. All ROCAF F-16A/B are powered by the F100-PW-220 turbofan engine. It is worth noting that ROCAF F-16 retain their inflight refueling capabilities, although there is no tanker aircraft in the ROCAF.
It was a great pleasure for me, to spend those two days around Hualien AB, with the multiple spotting places ( both qfu were used during this period ). That permited me to test all the spotting places and everything was perfect.