New anti-submarine aircraft added to Taiwan's military forces

Taiwan President is confident of the country's defensive capability and says self-built military hardware development will continue

President Tsai Ing-wen (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News)

President Tsai Ing-wen (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News)

PINGTUNG (Taiwan News) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced the replacement of the country’s S-2 Tracker (S-2T) anti-submarine aircraft with the Lockheed P-3C (P-3C) aircraft at the Pingtung Air Force Base on Friday.

According to the information provided by the base, the S-2 Tracker had been on duty for four decades. In face of the ever-advancing military forces of China, it is necessary that Taiwan continues to upgrade its ability of anti-submarine action and maritime surveillance, officials said.

Apart from expressing confidence in the country’s defensive capability with the new fleet, Tsai also reiterated her earlier statement in an address that the government was determined to develop military forces on its own.

Tsai mentioned the military would learn the lesson from a recent navy shipbuilding scandal in which the contractor of the ships, the Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co. (慶富造船), is under investigation over illegal loans of billions of New Taiwan Dollars and has been in deep financial difficulty which led the construction of the ships to be suspended for the moment.

After the ceremony ended, Yang Chang-chin (楊長進), deputy commander of the newly established P-3C aircraft fleet, told the media that four teams of pilots had been sent to the United States for the lead-in fighter training for nearly one year.

Yang added that so far the lead-in fighter training had been carried out successfully.

Huang Chiao-wen (黃僑文), who was one of the pilots trained in the U.S., said the hardest part of the training was conquering homesickness.

Huang explained he was called to go to the U. S. shortly after his wife had given birth to a child. Yet with support from the family, he was able to complete his training, said Huang.

Friday’s ceremony was followed by an inspection by the president. Apart from the demonstration of the P-3C and S-2T anti-submarine aircraft, the country’s mainstay fighter jets such as Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), Mirage 2000, and F16 also joined forces to lend color to the demonstration.