Two upgraded aircraft arrive in Taiwan from US

U.S.-upgraded E-2K early warning aircraft arrived in Taiwan on December 19, 2011.

E-2K

U.S.-upgraded E-2K early warning aircraft arrived in Taiwan on December 19, 2011.

Taiwan received two upgraded early warning aircraft from the United States Sunday, air force said, as part of an arms deal that upset China-US relations.

The arrival of the E-2K aircraft in Kaohsiung city brings to four the number of such planes in Taiwan’s air force, after they were sent to the US last year for upgrades, as part of a $6.5 billion arms sale agreed in 2008, which also included advanced interceptor Patriot missiles, Apache attack helicopters and submarine-launched missiles.

Taiwan acquired four E-2Ts in 1995 and two E-2K in 2006. Another two E-2Ts were transported to the US for upgrading last month.

Analysts say the E-2K ― an all-weather early warning and control system platform with an upgraded radar, software, avionics and propellers ― will further reduce warning time if China launched an air attack.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008. But China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should it declare formal independence, prompting Taipei to seek more advanced weapons from the US.