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MND PLANS TO BUY NEW FIGHTER PLANES
Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The military is planning to purchase a new
generation of fighter planes, but the type of the aircraft to be
procured has yet to be decided, a Ministry of National Defense (MND)
official said Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Cheng Shih-yu, deputy chief of the General Staff for
Operations and Planning, made the remarks while fielding questions at
a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Defense Committee.
During the meeting, opposition Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang
asked Cheng whether the MND has a plan to purchase 60 new F16C/D
fighters from the United States to maintain Taiwan's air supremacy in
the face of China's intensified military buildup, including its
successive deployment of advanced Russian-built SU-27 and SU-30
fighters.
Quoting an MND assessment, Cheng said there might be a deficiency
or insufficiency in the air force's combat capability after 2010. To
cope with the situation, Cheng said a new fighter procurement plan is
being worked out, but the type of plane to be purchased has yet to be
determined.
Asked whether the United States is more likely to sell Taiwan
F-15 or F-18 fighters than the F-16C/D, Cheng said the possibility of
the U.S. selling F-15s or F-18s to Taiwan is slim.
Cheng also told lawmakers that the MND plans to retire all of its
F-5E/Fs in 2010, with the locally developed IDF fighters taking over
their function as training craft.
Meanwhile, Cheng denied a report that the air force will sell or
mothball its 56 Mirage 2000-5 fighters purchased from France to
simplify the military's aerial combat fleet. The report was not
factual, Cheng said, adding that the Mirage fighters were used in the
just-concluded Han Kuang No. 22 computer simulation drill.
(By Sofia Wu)
ENDITEM/J




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