US per­son­nel ar­rive in Tai­wan to fix F-18 fighter jet

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

A Tai­wanese

mil­i­tary

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.

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