Mon, Jun 19, 2006
Older Planes Involved In 32 Fatal Accidents
With a neighbor like
China, occasionally rumbling like a grouchy volcano in a fitful
sleep... it's no wonder the island country of Taiwan is interested
in bulking up its military.
That's even more true in the wake of a fatal crash involving a
Taiwanese air force F-5F in the southern county of Chiayi over the
weekend, that killed one of the plane's two pilots.
While the cause of that accident is not yet known... officials
are quick to point out Taiwan's nearly 300 locally-built Northrop
F-5s are over 30 years old, and have been involved in 32 fatal
accidents in that time.
Legislator Hsueh Ling, quoted in Forbes, recently said "it is
ridiculous to continue operating such aircraft, risking the lives
The answer? Replacing the old planes with advanced US-made F-16
C and D "Block 50" model fighters (below), to complement Taiwan's
146 F-16 A and B model planes, 56 French-made Mirages and 128
locally-designed "Indigenous Defense Fighters."
Defense ministry spokesman Wu Chi-fang said the air force has
drafted short- and long-term acquisition plans... and discussed
those plans with US officials when Taiwanese military officers
visited Washington last month.
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