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Reassembling of B-26 bomber in Taiwan to be completed soon

2012/01/10 17:18:38

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) A classic B-26 bomber of the type once used by the Republic of China (ROC) Air Force is being reassembled after being shipped from the United States, and will be put on permanent display at a military museum in Kaohsiung, military sources said Tuesday.

The reassembling of the U.S.-built bomber, which began on Monday, is "going smoothly," according to Chuck Yen, a representative in Taiwan for a U.S. aviation museum that swapped the plane for two Taiwanese military jets.

"We expect the project to be completed in the next two days," he told CNA.

The bomber was shipped to the southern Taiwanese city last week from Seattle in an exchange agreement between Taiwan's military and the Portland-based Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum.

Taiwan will give two decommissioned Air Force warplanes -- an F-5E and an F-5F -- to the U.S. museum, the military sources said.

Two U.S. technicians came to Taiwan to help reassemble the bomber, Yen said, adding that the staff will also help with disassembling, re-packaging and delivering the F-5E and the F-5F to the U.S. aviation museum.

After the yellow bomber is reassembled, the Air Force will repaint it grey to copy the old design used by the ROC Air Force's Black Bat squadron, the sources said.

The aircraft is scheduled to be on display at the Air Force Museum and Aircraft Display Field in Kangshan, Kaohsiung in late February, according to the sources.

The arrival of the classic bomber brings back memories of many heroic stories about officers in the Black Bat squadron who risked their lives time after time to carry out intelligence-gathering missions in China, said Yen, who is a professional pilot.

The squadron, formed in 1958, flew nighttime, low-altitude missions to detect radio waves as a precursor to the development of other, safer countermeasures.

The squadron flew a total of 838 reconnaissance missions until it was disbanded in 1974. All told, 15 of the bombers were shot down or lost in accidents and many lives were lost.

(By Elaine Hou)