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Air Force to buy 66 advanced training planes

ROC Central News Agency

2016/09/06 22:57:56

Taipei, Sept. 6 (CNA) The Air Force is to purchase 66 advanced training planes as part of a plan to phase out all of its F-5 fighters and AT-3 training planes, Air Force Command Headquarters said in a statement released Tuesday.

The procurement project has been approved by the Executive Yuan, the statement said, noting that the purchase is expected to meet the need for basic flight training missions and improve the efficiency of such training.

The statement was issued after Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣), an opposition Kuomintang (KMT) legislator and convener of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, wrote in a post on his Facebook page of his fear that under the government's policy of having military aircraft built locally, there will not be sufficient time for local companies to build enough new aircraft to meet demand.

Chiang said the Air Force plans to decommission all its F5 fighters in 2020 and its AT-3s in 2021, but some media reports have said that if the government insists on the implementation of self-sufficiency in aircraft production policy, the country will only see the release of a prototype aircraft in 2020.

By then, if no mass production planes have been built, the Air Force will have to put a halt to its planned flight training missions, the lawmaker said.

According to the central government's general budget bill for 2017, published Aug. 18, the Ministry of National Defense has budgeted NT$321.7 billion (US$10.28 billion), including NT$6.7 billion for the plan to have aircraft and ships built domestically.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Liu Kuan-ting and Elizabeth Hsu)
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