The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has signed two deals worth NT$12.84 billion (US$419.31 million) with the US for parts and aviation materials to maintain Taiwan’s fighter jet fleet.
The ministry signed the agreements with the American Institute in Taiwan — NT$9.9 billion for spare parts and NT$2.94 billion for nonstandard parts and aviation materials — it said in a public contract notice on Friday.
The spare parts contract is to be implemented from this month to March 2028, while the smaller agreement also starts from this month through June 2027, it said.
Photo: Taipei Times file photo
The air force is under immense strain to maintain jets as it is flying numerous missions in response to China’s constant military incursions into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a defense official said on condition of anonymity.
Fighters have been scrambled to shadow Chinese jets and large uncrewed aerial vehicles, while also conducting other missions, including reconnaissance flights by RF-16s, they said.
The missions haven taken a heavy toll on Taiwanese aircraft and led to a significant increase in demand for parts and materials, they said, adding that the navy has also been obliged to deploy warships to monitor Chinese military vessels.
The military has already exhausted its budget for jet and ship fuel because of attempts to counter Beijing’s activities, the official said, adding that the Executive Yuan released NT$1.68 billion from its reserve funds for fuel.
The military from early Thursday to early yesterday detected 19 aircraft sorties, including 10 that crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered the country’s southwestern ADIZ, in addition to five naval sorties in waters around Taiwan, the ministry said.
In other news, members of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee are on Thursday to tour a facility of CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船), the company contracted to build a prototype of an indigenous submarine.
The visit was listed in the legislators’ public schedules, although the purpose of the tour was classified.
The prototype submarine utilizes a partial double-hull design consisting of six pressurized compartments and a conning tower, with an X-shaped tail rudder and stabilizing fins on the sides of the tower, CBSC said.
The 70m-long submarine is to carry 18 MK-48 torpedoes and an undisclosed number of ship-launched Harpoon missiles. It is to have a displacement of 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes.
CSBC is in the process of completing the submarine’s pressure hull and said it expects to launch the vessel in September.
Last month, the defense ministry invited professors and students of engineering to attend a presentation on the making of the prototype and tour CSBC’s submarine factory in Keelung’s Jhongjheng District (中正).
CSBC used computer models to simulate the submarine’s assembly and a mock-up of the vessel has been built to train maintenance personnel, an attendee of the tour said in an article published anonymously on the Chinese-language online news outlet Up Media.
The factory at that time was working on the bow torpedo tubes, which is the most critical step in manufacturing the pressure hull, the person said.
The use of a large five-axis computer numerical control machine showed that crews were paying careful attention to reducing the vessel’s weight, they added.
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