Taiwan's Air Force celebrates 25th anniversary of home-grown jets
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, July 14 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force celebrated the 25th anniversary of taking its first delivery of locally made IDF fighter jets at an air base in Taichung, and pledged to continue to beef up its capabilities in the face of the military threat from China.
Lt. Gen. Hu Kai-hung (胡開宏), deputy commander of the Air Force, said at the ceremony that Taiwan has faced many difficulties in procuring advanced weapons systems from other countries due to the international situation, meaning that Taiwan has also had to develop home-grown defense capabilities.
The development, production, delivery and commission of the IDFs demonstrated Taiwan's defense technology and manufacturing abilities and its dedication to self-reliance in national defense, Hu said at the event held at the Ching Chuan Kang air base.
He also noted that it was after Taiwan developed its own IDF jets that foreign countries decided to sell Taiwan advanced fighters.
The IDFs, the U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets and the French-made Mirage 2000-5 fighters now form the main combat aircraft in Taiwan's Air Force.
Noting the potential for conflict across the Taiwan Strait and China's military threat, Hu said "we can't be satisfied with today's achievements."
Taiwan needs to continue to beef up its air defense capabilities and develop weapons systems to create an effective deterrent, he added.
Friday's event was attended by former members of the 427th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Ching Chuan Kang, former military officials and the pilot who was responsible for the first test flight of an IDF, to look back at the history of the locally developed aircraft.
The event featured a flyover by IDFs and stunts performed by IDF fighter pilot Liu Shih-po (劉世博), including slow and inverted flights.
It also showcased an array of historic photos and equipment related to the development of the IDFs and a video documenting the fighter jets' history.
The 25th anniversary meant that the IDFs have protected Taiwan for 25 years, Liu said, and he hoped they will continue to do so in the future.
(By Claudia Liu and Elaine Hou)
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