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Taiwan F-16V Wreckage Located

Fleet Grounded As ROCAF Seeks Answers

Taiwan's newly converted F-16V's are grounded, following an accident that saw the complete loss of an aircraft during a routine training mission from its base in southwest Taiwan. The ROCAF said the jet appeared to have plunged into the ocean with no signs the pilot ejected before impact. 

The national rescue center reported wreckage had been found during the nocturnal search of the surrounding area. The incident has led to a fleet-wide grounding order for the type as officials look to find the cause. Last spring, a similar order was issued when two of the fighters collided in what was then the 3rd fatal crash in half a year, a dangerous attrition rate for fighters that the country cannot easily replace. The accident aircraft came from the original block of F-16As delivered to the country in the late 90's, recently modernized to the F-16V specification and brought into active duty in November. Recent deliveries of aircraft have been put to work in training amid increasing airspace violations by the country's northerly Chinese neighbor. Increasing the frequency of aerial patrol is a vital concern for national sovereignty, according to the ROCAF, who has seen a record number of incursion since 2020, nearly tripling in frequency as PAF aircraft enter the ADIZ. 

So far, it is unknown whether the accident was caused by human error or equipment malfunction. Reports state that the training missions were being flown to practice ground attack procedures and perform strafing runs on targets in the Shuixi coastal range. Currently, a timetable for a return to flight status is unknown, likely pending results of an investigation. 

FMI: www.air.mnd.gov.tw

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