Sat, Sep 10, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Air force to purchase 66 advanced training airplanes

Staff writer, with CNA

The nation’s air force is to purchase 66 advanced training planes as part of a plan to phase out all of its F-5s and AT-3s, Air Force Command Headquarters said in a statement on Tuesday.

The procurement has been approved by the Executive Yuan and the purchase is expected to meet the needs of basic flight training missions and improve training efficiency, the statement said.

The statement was issued after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), convener of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, wrote on Facebook that he feared domestic manufacturers would not be able to keep up with demand under the government’s policy of building military aircraft domestically.

Chiang wrote that the air force plans to decommission all of its F-5s in 2020 and its AT-3s in 2021.

However, some media reports have said that if the government insists on self-sufficiency in aircraft production, the nation would be able to produce a prototype aircraft by 2020, he wrote.

If no new aircraft have been produced by then, the air force would have to halt to its flight-training missions, he wrote.

The central government’s budget for next year has allocated NT$321.7 billion (US$10.2 billion) to the Ministry of National Defense, including NT$6.7 billion produce aircraft and ships domestically.

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