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Six Taiwan fighter jets fly to US after F-16V upgrade

Aircraft will continue training program in Arizona

File photo of F-16V jets. 

File photo of F-16V jets.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Six newly upgraded F-16V fighter jets returned to the United States to continue training, reports said Wednesday (June 15).

The aircraft, one single-seat and five two-seat jets, arrived at Hualien Air Force Base on June 10 after flying from Arizona via Hawaii. Taiwan has a total of 11 F-16 jets stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for training, the Liberty Times reported.

Preparations for the flights from Hualien started at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, with officers at the base turning up to watch them take off one by one later in the morning, according to the report.

When the aircraft flew to the U.S. for their first stage of training in April 2021, they left Hualien early in the morning, with all the symbols representing Taiwan and the Air Force covered, but the noise of the engines still woke up nearby residents. This time, the military chose to let them fly off during daytime hours, the Liberty Times reported.

Taiwan has been converting its 140 F-16A/B aircraft to F-16V status at a total cost of NT$110 billion (US$3.72 billion) while also ordering 66 new F-16V fighters. On June 7, another F-16 jet on its way back to Taiwan ended up on its nose at Honolulu Airport due to a landing gear malfunction, but nobody was injured in the incident, reports said.