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Six Apaches to reach base by Tuesday: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A total of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters are now being carried by trucks to an Army base in the southern city of Tainan, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.

Major General Fan Hui-kun (范輝坤) of the Army Aviation Special Forces told local media yesterday that the Army is now using land transportation to bring the six U.S.-made aircraft that arrived Kaohsiung Harbor on Thursday to an Army Aviation Special Forces base in neighboring Tainan City.

“We'll proceed with their final assembly and then conduct tests after they are fully assembled at the base,” Fan said.

The choppers are expected to arrive at the Tainan base on Jan. 7, he noted.

This is the second batch of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters that have arrived in Taiwan so far under a 30-helicopter arms deal announced in 2008 by then-U.S. President George W. Bush.

The first batch of six Apaches that arrived in November 2013 were assembled at the harbor and flown back to the Tainan base.

But, according to the MND, this latest batch is being handled differently because the U.S. has found certain transmission malfunctions with this model of attack helicopter.

The first six helicopters have been grounded for safety checks since Dec. 17 after a malfunction in helicopters of the same model used by the U.S. Army.

Unidentified sources told the Taiwan military that no problems have been found in Taiwan's first six Apaches, but the newly delivered helicopters will still be grounded for safety checks until further notice to be issued by the U.S.

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