Tue, Nov 10, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Air force shelves jets due to lack of parts: report

BITS AND PIECES A story in Sunday’s ‘China Times’ quoted a military official as saying that nine jets had been put in reserve with assistance from France

DPA , TAIPEI

The air force has shelved nine Mirage 2000-5 jets because of a lack of spare parts supplied by France, media reported.

A story published in Sunday’s edition of the Chinese-language China Times quoted an unnamed Air Force official as saying that the jets had been put in reserve with assistance from France.

The planes underwent tests so that they can be reactivated later and could be used in combat in the event of a conflict, he said.

The delivery of spare parts could resume by the end of the year, the official said.

The media report came one month after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) told the legislature that difficulties in obtaining spare parts for maintenance had prompted the air force to cut each Mirage pilot’s monthly training from 15 hours to six.

Taiwan ordered 150 F-16A/Bs from the US and 60 Mirage 2000-5s from France in 1992 as part of a defense package.

The F-16 and Mirage, together with 130 self-developed Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDFs), form the backbone of the air force fleet.

Taiwan has also met difficulty in obtaining F-16C/Ds from the US to replace its outdated F-16A/Bs. Taiwan and US analysts have said US President Barack Obama may approve the F-16C/D sale after visiting China later this month.

Noting that there is evidence that China has increased to more than 1,500 the number of short and medium-range missiles it has deployed across the strait from Taiwan, David Brown, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, recently urged Obama to sell Taipei the military hardware it has requested to deter a potential attack by China.

Brown made the call in an analysis published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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