Armed Forces International News - May 2007
Taiwan Air Force Jet Crashes
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 11/05/2007 - 13:42:45
A Northrop F-5F Tiger II twin-seat jet fighter of the Taiwan Air Force crashed today while taking part in a military exercise.
Both pilots were killed, along with two Singapore soldiers, while nine further Singaporean serviceman were injured when the aircraft crashed into a storeroom located at Hukuo.
According to local media, the exercise was a simulation of a Chinese attack on the island. The participation of Singapore soldiers has been a regular occurrence since 1975, when a bi-national cooperation between the two countries under the name 'Operation Starlight' first began.
In response to the crash, the second of this type in less than 12 months, the Taiwan Air Force grounded the remainder of its F-5F Tiger II fleet. The previous crash, on June 27th 2006, resulted in the death of one pilot, while the second was injured, with the jet coming down in a rice field.
Reasons behind the crash have yet to be established, although some have cited the age of the aircraft, which is now 35 years old. The F-5F has served with the Taiwanese Air Force since 1974, during which time 30 accidents have claimed the lives of 32 pilots.
Commenting on the incident, Defence Minister Lee Jye told reporters that the jet was still acceptably contemporary, but the military was planning to replace them."Despite being old, the F-5Fs can still be used if they adequately meet standards. In the future we are planning to replace them with F-16C/D fighters," said Lee.
The crash precedes next week's annual Han Kuang live fire drills, which simulate a Chinese attack and which, according to Lee Jye, would be unaffected by the accident.
Source: Airport International Press Office
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