Text & Pictures: Philippe Decock  -  © sbap 2020
 
 

ROCAF 401st Wing – Hualien Air Base

 
History and development of the 401st Wing

The predecessor of the 5th wing was the 5th Tactical Fighter Group and was established in Jianqiao, Hangzhou, in 1936.
It was assigned to the Air Force Third Command in 1939 and stationed at Shuangliu, Sichuan Province.
In 1943, it was assigned to the Chinese-American Composite Corps and stationed at Zhijiang, Hunan.
It returned to Nanjing in 1945, after the victory over Japan.
The Chinese-American Composite Corps was then dissolved and the unit was assigned to the Air Force 1st Command and stationed at Dajiaochang, Nanjing, before being assigned to the 4th Military Region Command in 1946.
In 1948, the wing was ordered to relocate from Nanjing to Taiwan and station at Taoyuan Air Force Base.
In 1953, a reconnaissance squadron was assigned to the command to form the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing.
In 1960, the wing was renamed 5th Composite Wing.
In 1976, the wing was renamed 401st Tactical Composite Wing.
This wing has the record of victories in aerial battles during the War of Resistance against the Japanese
aggression, and reached a score of 1:10 although being by far inferior in numbers.
The pilots of the wing have shot down more than 120 enemy planes and severely damaged another 23.
A remarkable mission was the surprise attack on Bailuo Airfield in Yueyang. The brave pilots have destroyed more than 200 enemy planes at one time and contributed to the final victory.
On October 15, 1955, the 5th Group shot down one Mig-15 of the PLA for the first time in the air battles over
the Taiwan Straits. On July 21, 1956, the pilots of this wing also shot down two Mig fighters of the PLA in the
airspace north of Matsu. Later on, the wing shot down a total of 21 Mig-17's in the battles of August 14,
September 8, September 18, September 20, September 24, and October 10, 1958, and might have shot
down another three and damaged another five enemy planes in the same period.
The performance of the wing resulted in the conferring of a banner of honor by late President Chiang Kai-Shek in person in August 1959.
This was the glorious page in the history of the wing during the civil war.
On July 1st, 1998, the wing was ordered to relocate from Taoyuan Air Force Base to Hualien Air Force Base and started to operate the Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon (block 15OCU's upgraded to MLU standard before delivery and designated block20) under the new streamlined organizational structure of the military forces. Under the same policy, the reconnaissance squadron was also assigned to the wing.
With this new unit, the wing supported the establishment of the "Phoenix eye" surveillance and photography capacity of the Air Force and completed several important missions of intelligence gathering through surveillance and photography, and was highly praised by the senior officials.
Former President Chen Shui-Bian visited Hualien Air Force Base on January 16, 2002 and took part in the
ceremony of the formation of the Air Force 401st Wing. The 5th Composite Wing was then dissolved on
October 31, 2004 with the formation of the 17th, 26th, and 27th Tactical Fighter Squadrons on November 1.

 
 

The 401st Tactical Wing today :
Four squadrons are part of today's 401 Wing : 12 TRS, 17 TFG, 26 TFG and 27 TFG.
12 TRS (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron) flies a mix of Northrop RF-5E Tiger gazer/F-5F Tiger II (still wearing 4 TRS markings) and Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon being wired to carry a Modular Reconnaissance Pod designed by the Danish Company Terma. A total of seven F-5E's were modified to RF-5E's which required the removal of the radar and the starboard gun in order to accommodate room for the cameras.
17 TFG, 26 TFG and 27 TFG (Tactical Fighting Groups) are multirole squadrons flying the Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon.

 
QRA shelters, four F-16A's each armed with a pair of AIM-9M's and a pair of AIM-120C's
 Close up on the QRA Starting up
A trio of retired F-5's Intense activity on this Air Base
Ready for action
Lockheed-Martin F-16A 6672 lining up Take off
RoCAF F-16's sport the standard three-tone grey camouflage
F-16A 6674 with the 26 TFG markings Full power
Lining up A pair ready for departure 6607 & 6608
Note the high viz flying suit in use F-16A 6707 in full afterburner
Lockheed C-130H “Hercules” 1315 from 10 TAG based at Pingtung South Air Base
Note the beautiful "Vietnam" livery
Lockheed-Martin F-16A 6677 with 26 TFG high viz markings
Last check before departure
Northrop F-5F 5387 from 12 TRS upon landing Built in 1982 but still elegant
C-130H "Hercules" 1315 lining up
Heading back to base
Another large mission is getting ready
On the way to the last check area Last check for the 6684
The 6669 comes back from a training mission Followed by the 6670
F-16A 6694 with 27 TFG markings
Lockheed-Martin F-16B 6818 lining up Note the 17 TFG markings
Face to face with a Taiwanese Falcon F-16B with 27 TFG markings
A four ship formation ready for departure
 Brakes released for F-16B 6824 Acceleration
F-16A 6668 is gaining speed
Sometimes the interceptions are cool...
(Courtesy ROCAF via web)
...sometimes they are much more serious
(Courtesy ROCAF via web)
Another “Hercules" C-130H 1314
Lining up
F-16A 6708 upon landing Aerodynamic braking
A low viz aircraft with a high viz pilot F-16A 6707 touching down
The Northrop F-5 fleet from the Taiwan Air Force was built under licence by AIDC
F-16A 6720 taxiing out Note the inscription under the canopy (someone to translate?)
Forty years old and still beautiful curves F-16A 6672 upon landing
Followed by F-16A 6674 F-16A 6720 ready for a high speek taxi test on the runway
F-16A 6695 on final approach Close up on the nose
Followed by F-16A 6668
Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk NA-703 from National Airborne Service Corps (NASC)
Beech 1900C 1907 from Special Transport Squadron based in Taipei/Songshan F-16A 6669 on final approach
Followed by F-16A 6670 Close up on F-16B 6824 sporting the 27 TFG markings
A last view of F-16A 6677 and the 26 TFG high visibility markings
The Fighting Falcon of Hualien are permanently on alert level for the security of the island
(Courtesy ROCAF via web)
  

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