Government mulls request by Paraguay for 11 Hueys

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Sep 28, 2011 - Page 3

Taiwan is considering Paraguay’s request to transfer 11 UH-1H troop transport helicopters to the South American country, a decision that would be subject to approval by the US government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Central and South American Affairs Department Director-General Wu Chin-mu (吳進木) said the matter was “still under discussion” at the ministry, which was in consultations with the Ministry of National Defense.

Wu said Asuncion had made the request, but did not specify how many it needed.

The government has yet to make a decision on that matter because it needed to look into its helicopter replacement plan, Wu said.

“If possible, we will do our best,” Wu said in response to a report published by the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color on Monday.

The paper said Taiwan would donate 11 UH-1H helicopters to Paraguay, provided the US authorized the transfer and the Paraguayan Congress approved it.

General Miguel Christ Jacobs, commander of the Paraguayan Air Force, told the newspaper the process was under way to transfer the Vietnam War-era Huey helicopters.

Taiwan has previously given Paraguay 10 UH-1H helicopters in 2004 and in May it donated a Bell 427 twin-engine helicopter for use by the country’s president, the paper said.

Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp assembled 118 UH-1Hs under contract with Bell Helicopter in the 1970s. By 2009, about 60 remained operational.

Under the US$6.4 billion arms sale notified to the US Congress in January last year, Taiwan is set to acquire 60 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters.

Additional reporting by Staff writer