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Malfunction delays U.S. delivery of P-3C aircraft to Taiwan

2014/01/02 22:07:03

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) The delivery of one of the 12 P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft from the United States was behind schedule due to a malfunction in its flight control system, a Taiwanese Air Force official confirmed Thursday.

Taiwan received the first P-3C aircraft last September, and three more were scheduled to be delivered to Taiwan by the end of 2013, according to the Air Force.

However, during a legislative committee session Thursday, lawmaker Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintag revealed that the three sub-hunters should have been flown to Taiwan from Guam in December, but only one arrived here on Dec. 12.

Delivery of the other two was delayed due to a serious malfunction, after being flown there from mainland United States, Lin said.

One of the two P-3Cs eventually arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 17, after its problem was fixed, Lin said, adding that the other one was still in Guam waiting to be repaired.

Fielding questions by Lin, Lt. Gen. Ting Chung-wu, chief of staff of the Air Force, said there was no P-3C supply facility at the military base in Guam and the U.S. personnel was on Christmas vacation.

The cost of repairs will be covered by the U.S., Ting said.

According to the schedule, five more P-3Cs will be delivered to Taiwan in 2014, and another three in 2015, when the P-3C fleet will be commissioned, the Air Force said.

The P-3Cs will replace a fleet of 11 S-2T anti-submarine aircraft that has been in service for more than 40 years, it added.

The P-3C is said to be the most capable of Lockheed's P-3 submarine-detecting aircraft.

The U.S. government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services in 2007 and estimated the price of the package at US$1.96 billion.

(By Tseng Ying-yu and Elaine Hou)
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