A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades.
Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment.
The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said.
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times
The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the jets were refueled mid-air eight times.
The air force had launched two F-16Vs to escort the jets, while officials cleared the perimeter of Hualien Air Base of unauthorized people.
The jets are to undergo an inspection before their departure for Ching Chuang Kang Air Base, where they are to be upgraded, the source said.
Separately, the navy said that it has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture a range of mid to long-range radars, which would be used to upgrade naval radar stations across the nation.
The upgrades would improve the navy’s ability to monitor Chinese naval movements, it said.
The navy has numerous radar stations on Taiwan proper, and on Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.
Many of the stations operate outdated equipment and cannot deliver results that meet the navy’s expectations, it said.
The first phase of the upgrades, at an estimated cost of NT$250 million (US$8.93 million), is expected to be completed by the end of this year, the navy said.
The navy is contemplating following the air force’s lead in establishing an information hub for all radar feeds to minimize casualties in the event of an attack.
Such a hub would have to be implemented in stages, as it is dependent on regional radar station locations and how cables are to be routed, the navy said.
In other news, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s Shandong carrier group is slowly moving northward after wrapping up “routine exercises” in the South China Sea earlier this month, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The ministry said that it is closely monitoring the carrier group and would keep tabs on its movement regardless of whether it moves through the Taiwan Strait or takes another route.
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