The military will take delivery of three more submarine-hunting aircraft from the US by the end of this year, as part of an order for 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.
The first P-3C arrived from Guam on Sept. 25 at an air base in Pingtung Country.
Five more P-3Cs are scheduled to be delivered next year, and another three in 2015, when the P-3C fleet will be commissioned, the air force said.
The air force is planning to build new hangars at the Pingtung air base to accommodate the new aircraft, which will be used by the Air Force’s 439th Combined Wing based in Pingtung County, it said.
Capable of staying in the air for 12 hours with a range of 2,800 nautical miles (5,186km), the P-3Cs will help upgrade the military’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the air force said.
The P-3Cs will replace a fleet of 11 S-2T anti-submarine aircraft that has been in service for more than 40 years, the air force said.
“The S-2Ts will be decommissioned in 2017,” the air force said, adding that the components and engines will be removed from the decommissioned aircraft and donated to private groups for exhibitions, or sold to schools for educational purposes.
The P-3C is said to be the most capable of Lockheed’s P-3 submarine-detecting aircraft.
The US government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services in 2007 and estimated the price of the package at US$1.96 billion.