TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At a public hearing Saturday (July 18) residents of Taitung County voiced their opposition to a plan that would see a local airport used as an Apache attack helicopter base.
The main concerns were the choppers are excessively noisy and pose a threat to air safety at Fengnian Airport, CNA reported. At a hearing organized by the county government and attended by politicians from all sides, a representative of the Army’s Aviation and Special Forces Command explained how the AH-64 were, in fact, not as loud as current airport traffic.
The Apache’s sound level equaled 49.1 decibels, less than the average of 56.3 dB recorded at Fengnian, the officer said. Households in the area could also expect compensation payments, with the maximum amount set at NT$45,000 (US$1,500), according to the CNA report.
Nevertheless, the majority of the 100 local attendees voiced opposition to the Army plans, expressing fears over the quality of life. The county government asked the military to reconsider its plans, especially since it has already disposed of another airport in the region, Zhihang Air Force Base, but officers said that national security concerns had led to the choice of Fengnian to base the Apache training unit.
Taiwan has 29 Apache AH-64E helicopters, which it procured with 1,000 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. Boeing delivered the aircraft in 2013-2014, after which they were stationed at a base in Longtan, Taoyuan City.