Text & Pictures: Philippe Decock  -  sbap 2020

ROCAF 737th Wing Taitung Air Base

History and development of the 737th Wing

This relatively new unit was established in Taitung in 1970 as "Troop Training Center" using Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star and North American F-86F Sabre aircraft.
Designated 737th Tactical Fighter Wing it was composed by the 44th, 45th and 46th Fighter Squadrons.
The Wing took over advanced training duties from the 828th Wing and transitioned to the Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter in July 1977.
Replacement of these first generation aircraft started with the arrival of the first Northrop F-5E Tiger II in January 1981, the F-5F arriving in November 1981.
The 46th Fighter Squadron was renamed 46th Tactical Fighter Squadron on January 1, 1984 and received training duties becoming a semi-independant unit.
By 1991, the 44th Squadron took care of the conversion on the Northrop fighter of young pilots coming from the Air Academy having flown the Lockheed T-33A until the end of the 1980's, and later the AIDC AT-3 trainers, while the 45th Squadron acted as an Operational Conversion Unit teaching basic fighter maneuvers, weapon delivery, interception, air defence, air-to-air gunnery on a TDU-10/B towed target, instrument flying, tactical formation, surface attack tactics and night navigation.
The Wing, in addition to its training role, participated to the defence of the East coast of Taiwan and the safety of maritime traffic with combat patrols over the Pacific Ocean.
Nowadays, it is the only remaining Northrop F-5E/F Wing. Its squadrons have not been upgraded to Group status, as they have mainly a training role.
The 46th Tactical Fighter Squadron is part of the Tactical Training and Development Center, established in 1976 as "Tactical Training Center", in order to improve the effectiveness of air combat training. In 1980, the Squadron was equipped with Northrop F-5A/B converting to the Northrop F-5E/F in 1984.
On July 1, 1988 an ACMI Section was established within the Center with an Air Combat Maneuvring Range over the sea, similar to the one situated in Decimomannu, Italy.
Every year, aircraft from all Tactical Fighter Wings gather in Taitung for Dissimilar Combat Training.
The 46th Tactical Fighter Squadron is still flying Northrop F-5/F simulating tactics used by mainland pilots, learned through various channels, amongst which PLAAF defectors.
Its aircraft used to wear green/brown camouflage or metallic paint, their tactical code being painted in red on the nose section, in order to resemble PLAAF tactical aircraft.
An quick-reaction element is kept for local defence.


The 737th Wing today :
Three squadrons are part of today's 737th Wing : 44 TFS, 45 TFS and 46 TFS.
All three squadrons are equipped with the Northrop F-5E/F.

 F-5E upon landing with the QRA shelters in the background and Taitung city in the distance
A part of the apron with some F-5Fs being prepared for their next flight
F-5F taxiing out with Taitung control tower on the right
F-5E 5274 taxiing out Followed by F-5F 5413
F-5F 5372 taking off
A pair of F-5s taking off Note the  44 TFS markings on the nose
F-5E 5274 taking off with F-5F 5413
F-5F 5407 upon landing Followed by F-5F 5398
F-5F 5412 equipped with a TDU-10/B towed aerial target
F-5E 5287 taking off F-5F 5403 in a beautiful tiger livery
Formation take off for F-5E 5287 and F-5F 5403
F-5E 5267 and F-5F 5402 F-5E 5265 taking off
F-5F 5412 taking off with the aerial target
The target is on its way F-5F 5400 and F-5E 5290
Formation take off for F-5Fs 5404 and 5397. Note the "Top Gun" mode logo on the 5404 tail
Gear retraction F-5F 5380 and F-5E 5268
Profile view F-5F nose section
F-5F 5372 taking off F-5E nose up
F-5F 5413 getting airborne
F-5E 5286 F-5F 5389
F-5E 5265 At the break
F-5E 5287 upon landing Close up on the cockpit of an F-5E with National Flag on the helmet
F-5F 5403 going around...Tiger Tiger Tiger
F-5F 5397 upon landing Aerodynamic braking for F-5F 5404
F-5E 5267 at a lower altitude than the cars... F-5F 5402
The target has been dropped F-5F 5400 and Taiwanese refueling truck
F-5E 5290 F-5E 5268 with maintenance facilities in the background
F-5F 5403 upon landing Close up on the "Roaaaar" tail
Superb livery
F-5F 5400 taxiing in F-5F 5380 going around
UH-60M "Black Hawk" 944 visiting Taitung About to land
Another F-5F is returning to base F-5F 5389
A TDU-10/B is brought to the flight line Another visitor
VIP configured Fokker 50 based in Taipei/Songshan

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