The 12 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters that have been grounded for almost two months will go into service tomorrow, the army said yesterday.
The aircraft were grounded in middle of December last year after the Ministry of National Defense was notified by the US of a key transmission failure in one of the US Army’s Apache AH-64Es.
The Republic of China Army said it will finish replacing the transmission boxes on the helicopters by the end of this month, but four aircraft whose transmission boxes have been replaced and tested are ready for use.
The 12 helicopters are part of a 30-helicopter package ordered from the US in June 2011 for about US$2.5 billion. The package is administered under a US program named “Sky Eagle.”
The first six helicopters from that package arrived in November last year, followed by a second batch last month.
The Chinese-language Apply Daily yesterday quoted army officers as saying the 61 Army Aviation Special Forces pilots who underwent training on the Apache AH-64Es at Fort Hood, Texas, did not had their training delayed because of the grounding and they will return to Taiwan on schedule.
The rest of Taiwan’s helicopters are scheduled to arrive in three batches — next month, May and July.
The Apache AH-64Es are one of the US’ most advanced attack helicopters.
Additional reporting by staff writer