Taichung-based Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) is to open a maintenance center for F-16 jets on Friday, which is also to service aircraft operated by countries throughout the region, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) scheduled to attend the opening ceremony.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) — a member of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee — called the opening of the center a “milestone” and said it would be useful for engaging in exchanges with Asia-Pacific countries that are not diplomatic allies of Taiwan.
In the face of China’s military buildup, cooperating with Taiwan on fighter-jet maintenance and repair would be ideal for other countries that are also friendly to the US, he said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The new facility would handle all repairs to the 66 F-16V jets that Taiwan last year purchased from the US, as well as handling upgrades on the military’s 142 standard F-16 jets, a source said.
With its fleet of 208 F-16 jets, the nation is very experienced with that model of aircraft and well poised to conduct repairs on it, the company said.
Other countries in the region that use F-16s include South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, while India is mulling the purchase of F-16s, it said.
Lockheed Martin — the US manufacturer of the aircraft — in December last year signed a strategic agreement with AIDC to promote its role as a regional repair center for the model, it said.
Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said the center would initially focus on the repair and maintenance of Taiwan’s own fleet of F-16s, but expanding to service other countries’ fleets would be a possible “second-phase” operation.
One of the center’s advantages over those in the US would be its lower maintenance and repair rates, which could be appealing to neighboring countries, he said.
However, the political nature of military cooperation is a potential stumbling block, and agreements with other nations would take time to work out, Lo added.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) said she was cautiously optimistic about the chance of servicing other countries’ aircraft fleets, but echoed Lo that cost considerations could work in the nation’s favor.
However, the center would face challenges, as Taiwan’s aircraft maintenance prowess has yet to be proven to other countries, while accidents during defense exercises in the past few years had probably lowered those countries’ confidence in Taiwan, she said.
KMT Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信) said the center should focus on maintaining the nation’s own aircraft, adding that plans on regional cooperation were too lofty.
Singapore and South Korea were capable of repairing their own aircraft and would not risk conflict with China by cooperating with Taiwan, Chen said, adding that India would likely establish its own repair center.
Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) said that the Lockheed Martin deal was proof that the US company had confidence in the nation’s capabilities and trusted Taiwan with the protection of sensitive technology.
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
THREATS: Dismissing Beijing’s assertion that its military exercises only target Taiwanese separatists, Chiu Kuo-cheng said war has no regard for political affiliation In case Taiwan is attacked, the military will defend the nation and not stand by like “plastic toys,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. Chiu was responding to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asking him to clarify his remark last week that “the military holds to the principle that we will not fire the first shot.” Wang asked Chiu whether he meant what he said literally or that Taiwan would not start a war. “The Republic of China will not start a war,” Chiu
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found