Two early warning aircraft depart for U.S. for upgrading

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) Two airborne early warning aircraft that the United States sold to Taiwan's air force in the 1990s left for the U.S. from Kaohsiung Tuesday for upgrades. The two E-2T aircraft were flown from an air base in Pingtung County to Kaohsiung Xiaogang International Airport before being towed to Kaohsiung Harbor. The aircraft will be shipped to the U.S. by sea. According to military sources, the two E-2Ts will be the third and fourth to undergo retrofits in the U.S. under an arms sale agreed to by the U.S. in October 2008 that included an upgrade of four E-2Ts to the Hawkeye 2000 configuration at a cost of US$250 million. The first and second E-2Ts were sent to the U.S. in June 2010 and are expected to be returned to Taiwan at the end of this year. The aircraft will be refitted with more efficient eight-blade propellers and have their radar and surveillance systems upgraded. The improvements are part of the military's efforts to update its arsenal. (By Chen Pei-huang and Deborah Kuo)