US personnel arrive in Taiwan to fix F-18 fighter jet
American personnel arrived in Taiwan on Thursday evening to repair a mechanical problem on one of two American F-18 fighters that made an emergency landing at an air force base in Taiwan the previous day.
Taiwan’s Air Force and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, both confirmed that a C-130 transport plane carrying U.S. maintenance personnel and aircraft parts had arrived at Tainan Air Force Base in southern Taiwan.
It was not immediately clear how long it would take to repair the aircraft. Taiwan’s Air Force said that it will provide any necessary logistics assistance to the U.S. personnel.
The American maintenance crew is expected to stay overnight to carry out the repairs, an Air Force official said. The F-18s will depart Taiwan as soon as the repairs are completed and the aircraft passes the necessary safety tests, the official added.
The C-130 flew from Japan to bring the maintenance crew, according to AIT spokesman Mark Zimmer. A team from the AIT has also been sent to the Tainan base to help deal with the matter, he said.
The F-18 pilots landed their planes at the Tainan base at 1:19 p.m. Wednesday after requesting permission to do so, citing a mechanical problem on one of the aircraft, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said.
The F-18s took off from a U.S. base in Japan on a routine mission, and were going to a training exercise in Southeast Asia, Zimmer told CNA.
offi- cial, who confirmed that the Air Force’s 443rd wing assisted with the landing of the U.S. fighters, said he expected the U.S. to send a maintenance team because Taiwan does not have any F-18 fighters in its fleet and does not have the ability to repair or maintain that aircraft model.
The landing was a rarity because the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and its military aircraft do not use air bases in Taiwan.