The delivery of one of the 12 P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft ordered from the US is behind schedule due to a malfunction in its flight control system, an air force official said on Thursday.
Taiwan received the first P-3C aircraft in September and three more were scheduled to be delivered by the end of last year, the air force said. However, during a legislative committee meeting on Thursday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) revealed that of the three sub-hunters that should have been delivered to Taiwan from Guam last month, two had been delayed due to a serious malfunction that occurred after they left the US. The third plane arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 12, Lin said.
One of the malfunctioning P-3Cs was flown to Taiwan on Dec. 17 after its problem was fixed, Lin said, adding that the other was still in Guam waiting to be repaired.
Air force chief of staff Lieutenant General Ting Chung-wu (丁忠武) said there is no P-3C supply facility at the military base in Guam and US personnel were on their Christmas vacation.
The cost of repairs would be covered by the US, Ting said.
According to the schedule, five more P-3Cs are to be delivered to Taiwan this year, and another three next year, when the P-3C fleet would be commissioned, the air force said.
The P-3Cs are to replace a fleet of 11 S-2T anti-submarine aircraft that have been in service for more than 40 years, it added.
The US government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services in 2007, at a cost of US$1.96 billion.