The Ministry of National Defense is set to lift the grounding of its 12 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters next month, more than one month after grounding the aircraft following a failure in the same model reported by the US Army, a source in the military said yesterday.
The grounding of the Apaches is set to be lifted once they have received new main transmission boxes, allowing Army Aviation Special Forces pilots to fly the helicopters, according to the source, who asked not to be named.
The US Army has also started replacing the main transmission boxes on its helicopters, the source said.
The main transmission boxes for the next three batches of helicopters set for delivery will be removed for further checks before they are shipped from the US, the source said.
Those shipments have been scheduled for March, May and July.
The ministry grounded its first two batches of Apaches for safety checks after receiving word from the US in the middle of last month of a main transmission failure in one of the Apache AH-64Es in service in the US Army.
However, no problems have been found in the helicopters already in Taiwan, the source said.
Though the helicopters have been grounded, ground and simulation training have continued, the source added.
Taiwan received its first batch of six Apache helicopters at a base in Greater Tainan in November last year, followed by a second batch early this month.