Taiwan to receive more anti-submarine aircraft this year
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Oct. 16 (CNA) Taiwan will take delivery of three more submarine-hunting aircraft from the United States by the end of this year, as part of an order for 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft, the military said recently.
Taiwan took delivery of its first P-3C on Sept. 25, when the aircraft arrived at an air base in Pingtung Country from Guam. It was flown to Taiwan by American personnel for liability reasons, with Taiwanese military staff along for the flight, Air Force sources said.
According to the schedule, five more P-3Cs will be delivered to Taiwan in 2014, and another three in 2015, when the P-3C fleet will be commissioned, the Air Force said.
The Air Force is planning to build new hangars at the Pingtung air base to accommodate the P-3Cs, which will be used by the Air Force's 439th Combined Wing based in Pingtung, it said.
Capable of staying up in the air for 12 hours with a range of 2,800 nautical miles, the P-3Cs will help upgrade the military's anti-submarine warfare capabilities, according to the Air Force.
The P-3Cs will replace a fleet of 11 S-2T anti-submarine aircraft that has been in service for more than 40 years, the Air Force said.
'The S-2Ts will be totally decommissioned in 2017,' the Air Force said, adding that the components and engines will be removed from the decommissioned aircraft and donated to private groups for exhibitions or sold to schools for educational purposes.
The P-3C is said to be the most capable of Lockheed's P-3 submarine-detecting aircraft.
The U.S. government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services in 2007 and estimated the price of the package at US$1.96 billion.
(By Elaine Hou)
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