France has compensated Taiwan for engine damage to its Mirage 2000s, and the fighter jets have since been returned to their normal training operations, Air Force officials said.
Ger Hsi-hsiung (葛熙熊), chief of staff of the Air Force, made the remarks at a legislative meeting last week in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who first brought the issue to light last October, saying that the Air Force had considered suspension of operations of its Mirage fleet because of engine damage.
The Air Force regulates that each Mirage pilot fly 15 hours monthly, but because of the damaged fighters, Mirage pilots were only able to maintain eight hours of training operations from September to December last year.
Ger told the legislative meeting that the Air Force had later reached a deal with France in which the latter had agreed to supply the aircraft’s Snecma M53-P2 turbofan engines and that the fighter squadron, since January, has returned to its regular monthly 15 hours of training operations.
Lin said France sent personnel to Taiwan late last year to repair the engines. It also provided advanced scope testing equipment for fighter aircraft, trained Taiwan’s personnel free of charge, and delivered parts and supplies for the Mirages ahead of schedule. The military said the compensation was worth about 10 million euros (US$13.5 million).
Taiwan ordered 48 single-seat Mirage 2000-5EI interceptors and 12 Mirage twin-seat 2000-5DI trainers in 1992.
The first squadron became operational in 1997.