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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

ROC Air Force increases mission capable rate of Mirage 2000-5s

ROC Central News Agency

Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force has significantly raised the combat readiness of its Mirage 2000-5 jet fighters, with the average mission capable rate rising to nearly 70 percent from last year's 54 percent, an Air Force general said Friday.

Briefing journalists invited to the Hsinchu Air Base in northern Taiwan to watch an air maneuver by Mirage fighters, Maj. Gen. Wang Hsuan-chou, commander of the 499th Wing of the Republic of China Air Force, attributed the improved readiness of the aircraft to an increased government budget for Air Force maintenance and supply.

The mission capable rate is used to identify the percentage of aircraft able to perform their missions. It is one of the indicators of combat readiness.

Taiwan bought 60 Mirage 2000-5s -- 48 single-seaters and 12 two-seaters -- for its Air Force from France in the late 1990s, but lost three two-seaters and one single-seater in recent years during routine training flights.

In 2007, the mission capable rates of the Mirage jet fighters dropped to 54 percent for the single-seaters and 75 percent for the two-seaters, mainly because insufficient budget appropriations in 2005 and 2006 created difficulties in acquiring parts needed for the maintenance of the fighters, according to Wang.

He expressed confidence that as the maintenance budget for next year has been increased, the mission capable rate of the Mirage fighters will be maintained at least at this year's level. (By Han Nai-kuo) ENDITEM/br



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