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Upgraded fighter jet test flight said completed

Upgraded fighter jet test flight said completed

Taiwan's air force has completed a maiden flight of its upgraded fighter jet, media reported yesterday, as part of the island's efforts to boost defense capabilities against China.
A prototype of the fighter, which has increased range and firepower, completed a test flight and landed successfully at the central Chingchuankang airbase on Wednesday, the Liberty Times reported.
The fighter is an improved version of the Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter and is currently being developed by the government-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (漢翔航空).
The newspaper carried a photo of the sleek plane, which has two additional fuel tanks and double the number of air-to-air missiles on the current IDF, landing at the airbase.
Costing the military NT$7.0 billion (US$212.77 million), the fighter is being developed in a three-part phase launched in 2001. Service entry is scheduled for 2010 if development is successful and approved.
The prototype has four air-to-air missiles, an improved anti-radiation missile and a "Wan Chien" (Ten Thousand Swords) cluster bomb, according to the Jane's Defence Weekly.
It will also have upgraded mission computers, electronic warfare systems, an advanced "identification friend or foe" system and improved terrain-following and radar systems, it said.
Taiwan produced 130 IDFs during the 1980s to replace Taiwan's ageing Lockheed F-104s and Northrop F-5s.
China threatens to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting the island to acquire more advanced weaponry.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 at the end of a civil war after Kuomintang troops were defeated by communist forces led by Mao Zedong and fled to the island.