January 1, 1912 is the official "birthday" of Asia's first democratic republic, the Republic of China. To bring the nation into being, the ROC's Founding Father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, united a vanguard of revolutionary patriots to revolt against the Ch'ing court. On October 10, 1911, the Wuch'ang Uprising marked Sun's success. One after the other, regions joined the revolution sweeping the land and within one month 15 provinces were united with Sun against the Ch'ing rulers. Realizing the inevitability of its demise, the imperial court proclaimed its abdication. On December 29, representatives from each province convened a meeting to elect the president of the new republic. Sun Yat-sen, honored with the appointment, was officially inaugurated the next year (1911) on New Year's Day, which also marks the founding day of the Republic of China.
Consisting of both American fighter and indigenous training aircraft the Taiwanese government decided to develop a fighter of its own. The production of this twin-engine AIDC Ching-Kuo lasted until early 2000. Originally around 250 were to be produced, but instead orders were placed for the Mirage 2000 (60 aircraft) and the F-16A/B (150 aircraft). This limited the number of Ching-Kuo built to 135. An additional order for 66 F-16C/D aircraft has not been granted by the US yet. This order would allow the country to finally withdraw their final F-5E/F aircraft. Training is carried out on the T-34 and the locally designed and built AT-3.
An extensive transport- and VIP-fleet is used to cover the transport needs of the island. This fleet includes C-130s, Beech 1900s, Fokker 50s and a B737. For SAR missions a number of S-70s were introduced during the nineties. The first three EC225 to eventually replace these S-70s were introduced in 2012. The Army element operates a mix of helicopters, operating from three bases. Apart from the (obvious) Huey the Army is the owner of a number of AH-1 Cobra's, OH-58 Kiowa's, TH-67s and nine CH-47SDs. An order for 30 AH-64D Apache helicopters has been placed and the Army is seeking up to 60 UH-60s. The Navy Air Arm is blessed with the S-2T Tracker, the H500MD/ASW and several SH-60s (S-70(M)-1 and S-70(M)-2). Though the Trackers have been serving for a very long time, their replacement is still not delivered. After much debate, the government decided to acquire twelve P-3 Orions. The first of these is expected to arrive in 2013.
All three armed services use their own system to give the aircraft a serial.
Republic of China Air Force / Chung-Hua Min Guo Kong Jun
The actual serial consists of four digits, with the first one or two digits referring to the type (one or two digits depending on whether the number of aircraft exceeds 100, e.g. F-5: 5…, F-16: 6…, Fokker 50: 50.., Beech 1900: 19..). The remaining digits of the serial (two or three) are sequence numbers. Some Air Force types also carry a USAF-lookalike fy-serial. The presentation of this is not all that consequent. The F-5s carry ‘43434’ for instance, referring to 74-3434, whereas the F-104s carried the complete ’63-12345’ for instance. Locally built aircraft (AIDC) can carry a ‘local’ fy-serial. Ching Kuo 1402 for instance, carries 81-8008. The first two digits (81) is the year in which the aircraft was built, following the Taiwanese calendar. This makes it 1992 in the regular calendar *. The first digit of 8008 refers to the eighth type being built by AIDC, whereas the other three digits are sequence numbers.
Republic of China Navy / Chung-Hua Min Guo Hai Jun
The Navy also uses a four digit serial. A Navy S-70 for instance carries 2302, a H500MD carries 6903. The first two digits appear to be a sequence numbers adding 1 when a new type enters service, where the remaining two digits are sequence numbers within the applicable type. The H500MD/ASWs are the exception to this rule. They entered service in 1980, the 69th year since the Republic of China was established (1911). Therefore these helicopters are all serialed 69xx.
Republic of China Army / Chung-Hua Min Guo Lu Jun
Army helicopters carry a three or four digit serial and (most of the times) a reference to their US-origin or AIDC-offspring. Refer to the Air Force for more details on this.