An investigation has concluded that cracking occurring in the radome on some of the US-made AIM-120C air-to-air missiles carried by Taiwan’s F-16s was caused by long-term exposure to humidity and stress, the Air Force General Headquarters said yesterday.
The air force made the comments after local media reported earlier the same day that the problem with the missile — the most advanced in the Taiwanese air force — had been observed for three consecutive years.
The air force currently has 120 AIM-120C-5 and 218 AIM-120C-7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) in its inventory.
The “fire-and-forget” missiles are used on its 146 F-16 aircraft. The first order of AIM-120s was delivered to the air force in 2004.
Radomes, one of the eight main sections of a missile, are a pyroceramic cone at the nose that serve as a window for radar or heat-seeking electromagnetic devices inside the missile.
In a statement, the air force said it had followed US suggestions to improve rotation cycles and store the missiles in conditions that would reduce the impact of moisture on the radomes.
The US has been asked to repair the damaged missiles, the statement said, adding that the problem had not undermined national defense.
Raytheon Corp is the main manufacturer of the missile.
In a report on the 2010 AMRAAM International Users’ Conference held in Florida in May 2010, the Taiwanese air force had already identified the problem and said it had sought the assistance of the US in addressing the impact of high humidity on the missile.
The US investigation into the causes of the cracking has ruled out accidental damage caused by poor packaging or handling, as well as vandalism. The probe concluded that the high humidity in Taiwan, as well as the tremendous pressure exerted on the missiles from supersonic flight, were the principal causes of the problem.
However, the radomes on the French-made MICA and the domestically produced Tien Chien II “Sky Sword” — two other air-to-air missiles used by the Taiwanese air force — do not seem to have had similar problems, despite being exposed to the same climatic conditions, storage and rotation cycles.
According to information on Raytheon’s Web site, 36 countries worldwide have procured the AIM-120. The missile is also used on US aircraft carrier-based F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.
With translation by Jake Chung, Staff writer
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that