Taiwan is the largest US-made F-16 fighter jet after the crash
Taiwan is the largest US-made F-16 fighter jet after the crash

Taiwan is the largest US-made F-16 fighter jet after the crash

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry says a single-seat F-16 disappeared from radar across the Pacific Ocean just two minutes after taking off from Hualien Air Force Base on the east coast of the autonomous island at 6:05 p.m.

The search for the pilot of the aircraft, Col. Chiang Cheng-chih is still underway, according to the office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai told reporters Wednesday morning that all of the island’s F-16s would be shut down in the crash investigation.

China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, although the two sides have ruled separately since the civil war in 1949. Last month, Taiwan’s defense minister said it had spent nearly $ 900 million this year to fight Chinese aggression. For Reuters.

Despite the groundwork, Tsai said Taiwanese forces would be ready to defend the island.

“Defense and combat readiness should not be relaxed slightly to ensure national security,” she said.

The F-16 represents Taiwan as a major model in defense of Chinese military operations that may be opposed to it, and Taipei is looking to add ambiguity, upgrades to its fleet. In August, it finalized the purchase of 66 F-16 fighter jets from Washington in the largest US arms sale to Taiwan last year.

It also opened a US-sponsored maintenance center for warships in central Taichung.

“The time required for aircraft maintenance will be greatly reduced and the strength will be greatly increased, ensuring the air force’s combat capability,” Tsai said at the time. According to Reuters.

Military aviation analyst Peter Layton, a former Australian Air Force officer at the Griffith Asia Institute, said on Wednesday that the latest crash did not have to be caused by a mechanical problem.

“Maybe they (the pilots) flew in all day and there was no training at night,” he said. “This is normal, you might think. The real world is often a hindrance to training,” he said.

Tuesday’s crash was the second involving a Taiwanese fighter jet in half a month after its F-5 fighter jet crashed in late October, Reuters reported.

CNN’s Steven Jiang, Shanshan Wang and Shawn Deng contributed to the report. Additional reporting by Reuters.