Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 1 News List

China’s fighter jets are better than Taiwan’s: MND

CROSS-STRAIT DEFENSE Only one of the Air Force’s three types of jets have a slight edge over the Chinese aircraft, a new report by the ministry says

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Ministry of National Defense (MND) report shows that Chinese fighter aircraft are better than Taiwan’s, a revelation that will likely intensify calls for Taipei to procure advanced F-16C/D fighters from the US.

The report says the nation’s Indigenous Defensive Fighters (IDF) and French-made Mirage 2000-5s are inferior to China’s Su-30s, which are made by Russia.

A ministry source said the military recently completed a computer simulation of the capabilities of Taiwan and China’s fighters.

The source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times’ (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that when facing China’s Su-27s, Su-30s and J-10 fighters, Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs had a slight advantage, while the IDFs and Mirage were inferior.

The computer evaluation showed that Su-30s are the best jets in China’s air force.

While an F16A/B can match an Su-30, an Su-30 has 1.7 times the capability of the IDF and 2.8 times that of the Mirage 2000.

A J-10, meanwhile, has 0.88 times the capability of an F-16A/B, but 1.36 times that of a Mirage and 1.52 times that of the IDF.

The military source said the main factor behind the results of the evaluation was the projected range of the air-to-air missiles the jets possess.

F-16A/Bs carry US-made AIM-20 missiles, IDFs carry domestic TK-2 missiles and Mirage 2000s carry French-made MICA missiles.

The Su-30s and Su-27s carry the Russian-made R-77 missiles while the J-10 carries Chinese-made PL-12s.

The source said that since the MICA only has a projected range of 60km — while the other four missiles have projected ranges of more than 100km — the Mirage 2000 did badly in the evaluation.

A senior fighter pilot told the Liberty Times the computer simulation was questionable because it failed to consider an aircrafts’ combat capabilities.

The Mirage’s electronics system and its engagement capabilities would be much better in actual combat than the evaluation showed, he said.

The pilot said the evaluation was part of the military’s effort to procure F-16C/D fighters from the US.

“As the Chinese air force continues with its military buildup and the military balance has gradually tipped toward the other side, the air force will strive to purchase F-16C/Ds,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry’s report came after the Obama administration approved a US$6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan in January, prompting Beijing to halt military exchanges and security talks with Washington.

The deal includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for the F-16s, but not the submarines or the F-16C/Ds Taipei requested.

Analysts have said they doubt Washington would risk angering Beijing by approving the sale of more sensitive items such as the more advanced F-16C/Ds.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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