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President Ma, Ying-jeou presided over the delivery of the first IDF MLU aircraft.

President Ma, Ying-jeou presided over a ceremony held at AIDC in celebration of the delivery of the first batch of the IDF MLU (Mid Life Upgrade) aircraft on June 30th, 2011. Attendees included VIPs from the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the Air Force Headquarters, the Ministry of Economic Affairs(MOEA), the Taichung City government, and several key legislators. They witnessed the ceremony with hundreds of AIDC employees.

Overseen by President Ma, Ying-jeou, Gen. Yen, Ming, Commander of Air Force, received an aircraft model from AIDC Chairman Y. K. Shung representing the delivery of the upgraded aircraft. The ceremony was wrapped up with applauding and cheering while President Ma, Ying-jeou, the dignitaries, and Chairman Y.K. Shung together unveiled the upgraded aircraft tail number #1490. An iconic eagle head with hooked beak and a razor sharp claw was painted on the IDF’s horizon tail symbolizing the upgrade version.

“Last time when I was here in this very same place, it was an occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IDF Roll-out. I came here today and I can tell things are different now in AIDC. I am very impressed that you are making new progress with the IDF upgrade program,” President Ma said in his address to the audience.

President Ma mentioned that 20 years ago when the IDF entered the limelight, someone teased that IDF stood for “I Don’t Fly”. “Yet time has proved that the IDF not only flies, but flies well. It not only flies well, but it rarely fails. And above all these, it’s capable of being modernized through performance enhancement when it comes to its lifespan,” President Ma said to the audience, and continued to elaborate that IDF is not “I don’t fly”, but “I do fly.” It’s not just “I do fly”, but “I do fight.” It’s not only “I do flight”, but “I don’t fail.”

“We can see that AIDC never stops its pursuit of advancement in technical capabilities,” said President Ma in reference to AIDC being the designing and manufacturing contractor for global leading aircraft builders and having extended its business range to autotronic products and atmospheric studies.

AIDC has played a key role in Taiwan’s aerospace industry. Internationally AIDC is a business partner to Airbus, Boeing, GE, Mitsubishi, Bombardier, just to name a few. Domestically, AIDC continues to provide services to the national defense and is eager to participate in the new jet trainer project. President Ma confirmed in the ceremony that he had asked MND and MOEA to collaborate on the jet trainer project, “because sovereignty in national defense and the capability to build our own fighter are the ultimate goals Taiwan will not give up.”

President Ma honored the effort made by AIDC and congratulated MND for having the upgraded IDF to reinforce national security. The IDF has been in service for over 20 years. The Mid Life upgrade allows the IDF to be equipped with new avionics and flight control systems, and is able to carry weapons developed by the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST). The Flight Control Computer is upgraded from 16-bit to 32-bit; an advanced Mission Computer and a triple-color Heads-up Display have replaced the original avionic systems; and the software that performs the anti-electronic jamming functions developed by AIDC has been integrated into the radar. The IDF MLU program conducted by AIDC brings Taiwan closer towards the goal of Sovereignty in National Defense.

President Ma, Ying-jeou was able to observe the growth of AIDC through his previous visits, and his personal participation in the IDF MLU aircraft delivery ceremony is one way to acknowledge AIDC’s persistent efforts as the pioneer of Taiwan’s aerospace industry.

Background: Previously known as “Aero Industry Development Center” under the Ministry of National Defense, AIDC was commissioned to conduct the IDF program, developing a new defensive jet fighter to replace the old fleets due to difficulties in foreign procurement. The program embarked in 1983 and the first aircraft rolled out in December, 1988. Twenty years later, the Ministry of National Defense approved the “Hsiang-seng Program” in 2001 with combined efforts from AIDC and the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) to conduct performance enhancement research based on the IDF. The research took 7 years carrying out more than 400 flight tests. The Ministry of National Defense approved the IDF MLU program in 2009 based upon the success of the Hsiang-seng Program.