Wed, Sep 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Deals inked for Mirage parts, training

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The air force last week signed two contracts with France for spare parts for the Dassault Mirage 2000 avionics and electric warfare suite and for pilot training worth NT$5.7 billion (US$185.82 million) and NT$35 million respectively, a Ministry of National Defense official said on Sunday.

The avionics and electronic warfare components contract is an open, four-year-and-two-months contract to be implemented from October next year, while the pilot training contract is a two-year deal that begins in November, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sixty Mirage fighters were bought from France in a deal inked in November 1992 and all of the operable aircraft are deployed at the Hsinchu Air Base, the official said.

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration tried to negotiate a deal to replace the aging Mirages with the Dassault Rafale, but the project died when he left office, the official said.

Plans to upgrade the more than 20-year-old fighters has long been muddied by allegations of alleged arms sale kickbacks to the French government, the official added.

The Mirage 2000s are in urgent need of an upgrade to remain on par with the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) Indigenous Defense Fighter and the US-made Lockheed-Martin F-16, which have been heavily upgraded, so the military began talks with France to procure medium and short-range missiles, spare parts for avionics and electronic warfare systems and pilot training, the official said.

The AIDC has also signed a NT$15.7 billion contract to maintain and service two tactical fighter wings of Indigenous Defense Fighters starting in January next year, the official said.

The AIDC is already working on a NT$68.6 billion project to manufacture 66 advanced jet trainers, to be completed by 2028, as well as a NT$140.2 billion project to upgrade F-16s, the official said.

The government expects that the public capital injection and introduction of technologies will stimulate the nation’s aeronautics industry and strengthen its competitiveness on the international market, the official said.

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