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DEFENSE/Taiwan military to spend NT$10.2 billion on Mirage 2000-5s engine spare parts

01/04/2024 07:09 PM
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A Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands on a highway in Pingtung County during the annual Han Kuang military exercise on Sept. 15, 2021. CNA file photo
A Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands on a highway in Pingtung County during the annual Han Kuang military exercise on Sept. 15, 2021. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) Taiwan's military has committed to spending NT$10.2 billion (US$328 million) on purchases of engine spare parts for the Air Force's Mirage 2000-5s fleet, to ensure the combat readiness of the French-made fighters after more than two-decades in service, a source told CNA Thursday.

According to a notice posed on the Government e-Procurement System, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) is awarding the NT$10.2 billion contract to Paris-based Safran Aircraft Engines for "engine spare parts."

According to the notice, the order will be fulfilled from January 2024 until Dec. 2028 in Hsinchu, with the Republic of China Air Force listed as the competent agency.

Although the notice did not specify what kind of aircraft the engine spare parts are for, an unnamed source familiar with the matter told CNA that they are for the Air Force's Mirage 2000-5s fleet based at Hsinchu Air Base.

The latest deal marks the third contract the MND has signed with foreign companies over the past month to ensure that its two-decade-old Mirage 2000-5 fighters remain available and mission capable, according to the source.

A day earlier, the MND announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with a French company to buy parts and components for air-to-air missiles fired from its Mirage 2000-5s. The parts and components are for MBDA MICA and R.550 Magic air-to-air missiles, according to the same source.

Taipei ordered 60 Mirage 2000-5s from Paris in the 1990s, with the aircraft entering service in 1997. Over the past 20-plus years, however, crashes have reduced the fleet to 54 aircraft.

The French-made jets are responsible for safeguarding northern Taiwan airspace.

(By Wu Sheng-hung and Joseph Yeh)

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