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President Tsai attends ceremony for new Black Hawk rescue helicopters

ROC Central News Agency

12/18/2020 04:27 PM

Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (θ”‘θ‹±ζ–‡) took part in a ceremony in Kaohsiung Friday to mark the National Airborne Service Corps' (NASC) recent receipt of six new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which will be put into service next July as rescue aircraft.

At the ceremony, Tsai thanked the NASC, the interior ministry agency in charge of disaster relief, search and rescue and patrol missions, for its hard work.

"With the uptick in domestic travel this year, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of accidents in the mountains and at sea. As of the start of December, the NASC had deployed to rescue 225 people this year," she said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (εΎεœ‹ε‹‡) highlighted the steps Tsai's administration has taken to strengthen the NASC, including raising pilots' salaries by NT$40,000 (US$1,421) per month and planning a new base at Taipei's Songshan Airport.

The six new choppers, which arrived in Kaohsiung in October, are the final aircraft of a batch of 60 Black Hawk helicopters Taiwan purchased from the United States in 2010 at a cost of NT$84.67 billion.

Thirty of the 60 choppers were designated for the Army, 15 for the NASC and 15 for the Air Force Rescue Group.

According to the NASC, the six new aircraft are equipped with a range of tools for carrying out search and rescue missions, including weather radar, thermal imaging, searchlights and a satellite communication system.

The NASC has said it will conduct test flights of the six Black Hawks before they are officially approved to engage in rescue missions.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Matthew Mazzetta)

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