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2004-01-07 20:26:31

    Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) A locally developed fighter plane scrambled in less than five minutes to intercept an approaching plane in a simulated air battle Wednesday, recording one of the world's fastest scramble times.

    Because the response time would be very short in the event of an attack in the Taiwan Strait, the indigenous defense fighters (IDFs) of the 427 tactical fighter wing stationed in Chinchuankang Air Base in Taichung, central Taiwan, demonstrated how they would deal with the situation in an emergency.

    Wu Chien-hsing, commander of the 427 Wing, said that the Chinchuankang Air Base is only about 126 nautical miles from Yixu Air Base and 163 nautical miles from Zhangzhou Air Base along the southeast coast of mainland China,

    Mainland fighters could fly over Taiwan proper within 10 minutes after taking off if there was no interception, Wu said, adding that it is necessary for the Republic of China Air Force to have a swift interception ability.

    He said that Chinchuankang Air Base is the most important and largest air base of the ROC Air Force. With the response time so short in the event of an air battle over Taiwan Strait, it has to shoulder the responsibility of front-line air defense.

    The IDFs are on around-the-clock alert, and will be able to scramble in an emergency in five minutes, Wu said.

    The ROC Air Force said that the "five-minute-alert" means that after receiving instruction, the fighter will be able to complete necessary tests and scramble for interception.

    The IDFs are the only major fighter of the ROC Air Force and the world that can scramble within five minutes, Air Force officials claimed.

    They said that when the red blimp appears on radar to show that aircraft from mainland China have taken off, the 427 wing will be put on an immediate alert, and when the plane is near the mid-point of the Taiwan Strait, the pilots will be already in the cockpit and ready to scramble for interception.

    The French-made Mirage fighters, along with the 130 locally built indigenous defense fights and 150 U.S.-made F-16 jet fighters, form the backbone of the nation's second-generation warplane fleet.

(By Lilian Wu)


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