AIR FORCE EXPRESSES CONCERN TO U.S. OVER RADAR BUDGET MISUSE
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, June 30 (CNA) The Air Force Headquarters has formed a special task force to audit budget appropriation for an advanced radar system installation project and has expressed serious concern to U.S. military authorities over relevant budget misuse, an official said Saturday.
The Air Force officer made the remarks after the United Daily News reported earlier in the day that budget for the long-range early-warning radar system procurement project has been misused by the U.S. side.
According to the report, Raytheon Co., the manufacturer contracted by the U.S. military to build the new radar system for Taiwan, has commissioned a local helicopter company to transport construction materials and relevant equipment to an Air Force base in remote mountainous region in northern county of Hsinchu, known as Loshan Base.
The report said even though the helicopter company has not airlifted any material or equipment to Loshan Base during the period from late last year to May this year, it managed to get US$700,000 in monthly payment from the U.S. contractor. According to the report, the Air Force's radar budget has so far been misappropriated by more than NT$100 million.
The report further said that because of a legislative budget cut, the radar system procured by the Air Force has been changed from a long-range, early-warning one to a new surveillance type with a shorter detection range.
In response, the Air Force officer said that as mountain roads linking Loshan base to other parts of Hsinchu County have often been damaged by torrential rains, U.S. military commissioned the local helicopter firm to transport building materials late last year. But airborne transportation work has often been affected by poor weather conditions and other factors, such as protests by residents over helicopter noise.
As a matter of fact, the officer said, the U.S. side didn't formally begin airlifting work until April this year. However, Raytheon has continued to pay the helicopter firm with funds from Taiwan. The officer said the Air Force has on many occasions expressed concerns to U.S. military authorities and has stepped up budget auditing work, adding that the Air Force task force will also tighten monitoring of progress in the project to prevent any further delay.
(By Sofia Wu)
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