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Military to commission rescue squad additions

TAIPEI--Taiwan's Air Force will formally commission three search-and-rescue helicopters purchased from Europe to beef up its disaster response capabilities at a ceremony July 10, the military said recently.

The advanced EC-225 Super Puma helicopters, which Eurocopter delivered to Taiwan's military last November, will be the first European-made choppers to be incorporated into the Air Force's rescue squadron.

Several government officials are expected to attend the ceremony in Taipei, including President Ma Ying-jeou.

Taiwan's main combat aircraft — F-16A/B jet fighters, Mirage 2000s and IDFs — will also fly over the ceremony site to mark the occasion, the military said.

The Air Force's rescue squadron currently consists of S-70C choppers from United States-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

Compared with S-70Cs that use a four-blade rotor, the all-weather EC-225s have five-blade main rotors that can reduce vibration levels and increase capacity to up to 24 passengers.

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