TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday (Jan. 21) visited Zhihang Air Force Base in Taitung County, the future home of 66 F-16V jets procured from the United States.
The site on Taiwan’s southeast coast was the scene of intensive air defense drills Wednesday (Jan. 19), ahead of the Jan. 29 – Feb. 6 Lunar New Year holiday.
During Tsai’s visit, the Air Force showed off its new indigenous “Brave Eagle” advanced training jet and the Martin-Baker Mk16 ejection chairs fitted in F-5 jets, CNA reported. The Air Force bought 70 chairs at a total cost of NT$780 million (US$28.13 million) to improve the safety of pilots following the death of two pilots in an accident last year.
A total of 66 “Brave Eagles” will be delivered by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) until the end of 2026, replacing the current 16 F-5E and 27 F-5F jets.
During her visit, Tsai emphasized the Air Force’s role in defending the country, its territory, and its airspace. According to Ministry of National Defense data published since late 2020, Chinese military aircraft have intruded into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on an almost daily basis.