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Taiwan set to take delivery of more Apache helicopters

TAIPEI -- Taiwan is set to take delivery of six more AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the United States in mid-March, as was expected, according to a military source.

It will be the third shipment of a 30-helicopter package that cost Taiwan more than US$2 billion.

“The helicopters, which are being shipped to Taiwan, are scheduled to arrive in Kaohsiung on March 16 or so,” the source told CNA.

There had been concerns that a main transmission failure on one of the Apache AH-64Es in service in the U.S. reported to Taiwan in December would delay shipments of the choppers, including the one scheduled for March.

The notification of the problem led Taiwan to ground the first six Apaches it had received in November and six more that arrived in January and replace the main transmission boxes as a precaution.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the 12 helicopters, which are currently at an Army Aviation Special Forces base in Tainan, have been fitted with new main transmission boxes, and test flights have begun.

After the test flights are completed and the safety of the choppers is verified, training missions will be resumed, the source said.

The 12 helicopters will be deployed at an Army brigade in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan in the future, the source said.

The final two batches of six choppers each will be delivered to Taiwan with the new transmission boxes later this year, and are expected to arrive in May and July, respectively, the source said.

The model E is the latest in the Apache attack helicopter series. The U.S. and Taiwan are the only two countries that use the latest Apache helicopter model so far.

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