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Taiwan Air Force considers buying 6 Hawkeye early warning aircraft

Addition of Advanced Hawkeyes would bolster Taiwan's air defense

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft. (Naval Post photo)

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft. (Naval Post photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Air Force is considering purchasing six E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes (AHE) early warning aircraft — but the high price has cast doubts on whether it will do so.

To meet the defensive needs of the Air Force, additional AHEs would be extremely beneficial, Liberty Times reported. However, a single aircraft could cost as much as US$400 million (NT$11.13 billion). Such a costly figure would also pit the three military branches against one another to secure their respective budgets.

The E-2D AHE is an early warning aircraft with fifth-generation early warning and combat control capabilities, per Liberty Times. It is equipped with an active electronic scanning array radar, which allows it to detect targets beyond the range of Taiwan’s current fleet of E-2C Hawkeye 2000s.

It can also detect aircraft with a low-radar cross-section like China’s J-20 Chengdu stealth fighters. In addition, the AHE can also provide target acquisition data for Taiwan's medium and long-range anti-ship missiles.

Military officials on Friday (Nov. 12) pointed out that although the national defense budget has grown slightly every year, the expenditures for naval and air combat development have increased. The government will have to make a detailed assessment on whether the aircraft can be included in the annual budget following the Air Force’s plan.