Taiwan loses two fighter jets in obvious collision
Taiwanese pilot killed and one other lacking within the ageing fleet’s third crash over the previous six months.
22 Mar 2021

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A Taiwanese air pressure pilot has been killed and one other is lacking after their fighter jets disappeared in a suspected mid-air collision off the island’s southern coast, officers mentioned.

The crash on Monday was the third such incident prior to now half-year, at a time when the island’s armed forces are having to intercept Chinese language plane on an nearly every day foundation.

The 2 F-5E jets disappeared from radar at about three pm (07:00 GMT) some 2.6km (1.6 miles) off the coast of rural southern Pingtung County, the Nationwide Rescue Command Centre mentioned.

It added that the fighters, every with one pilot on board, crashed into the ocean off the island’s southeastern coast after they apparently collided in midair throughout a coaching mission.

One of many pilots was discovered unconscious within the sea however couldn’t be resuscitated and was pronounced useless on the hospital.
Rescuers have been nonetheless looking for the remaining pilot.

Taiwan’s defence ministry mentioned it was engaged on a press release, and supplied no different instant remark. The official Central Information Company mentioned the air pressure had now grounded the F-5 fleet that operates from the Chihhang airbase.

Latest accidents
One other F-5 crashed in October, killing the pilot. The next month a way more fashionable F-16 crashed off Taiwan’s east coast, whose pilot additionally died.

In January final yr, Taiwan’s prime navy official was amongst eight individuals killed when a helicopter carrying them to go to troopers crashed in a mountainous space close to the capital Taipei.

Whereas Taiwan’s air pressure is effectively skilled and geared up, principally with US-made gear, it’s dwarfed by China’s.
Beijing views the democratic island as its personal territory and has by no means renounced using pressure to carry it below Chinese language management.

Below President Xi Jinping, China has turn into markedly extra hostile in the direction of Taiwan and final yr Chinese language jets made a document 380 incursions into its defence zone, with some analysts warning that tensions between the 2 sides are at their highest because the mid-1990s.

The incursions pressure outgunned Taiwan to repeatedly scramble their very own jets and hold pilots on a round the clock warfare footing that takes its toll on ageing plane and people flying them.

The US-built F-5E is an older era fighter with a design that dates again to the 1960s. It first entered service in Taiwan within the late 1970s and has been principally been retired from front-line actions, although some are nonetheless used for coaching and as back-up for the principle fleet.