1st P-3C anti-submarine aircraft arrives
CNATAIPEI--Taiwan finally took delivery of the first of 12 P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft from the United States on Wednesday when the plane arrived at an air base in southern Taiwan from Guam.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The aircraft was originally scheduled to arrive at the Pingtung County air base on Monday or Tuesday, but the schedule was pushed back because of the formation of a tropical storm in the Western Pacific Ocean.
A delivery ceremony was held at the air base, with Maj. Gen. Yuan Chi-kang, head of the Air Force's 439th Combined Wing, presiding.
Air Force personnel sprayed water over the aircraft as it taxied down the tarmac to welcome its arrival in Taiwan.
The P-3C was flown to Taiwan by American personnel for liability reasons, with Taiwanese military staff along for the flight, Air Force sources said.
Capable of staying up in the air for 12 hours with a range of 2,800 nautical miles, the P-3C will help upgrade the military's anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the Air Force said in a statement.
The U.S. government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services, a package valued at US$1.96 billion, in 2007. The last of the P-3Cs is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2015.
The aircraft is said to be the most capable of Lockheed's P-3 family of submarine-detecting aircraft.
In addition to detecting ships on and below the surface, the P-3C also has powerful anti-ship and anti-submarine attack capabilities, the Air Force statement said.
Noting that anti submarine warfare plays a key role in safeguarding Taiwan Strait security, the statement said the P-3C fleet will help Taiwan better protect navigation safety and give Taiwan a naval edge with its highly advanced reconnaissance, surveillance and communications systems.