A Taiwanese F-16 malfunctions and crashes during a training exercise when it got downed. They are looking for the black box and want to keep the wreckage from getting salvaged.
After the crash, all the fighting falcons were ground to check all the systems for diagnostics. At the same time, a search and rescue are underway, if the pilot survived according to officials last Wednesday, reported MSN.
Grounding the planes that number 150 in the Taiwan Air Force is a dire complication that leaves the island unprotected. The PLA AF is aware of the US support enjoyed by this small nation but does not stop China from violating its air space repeatedly. Taking 150 Falcons is a blow to its security to the increasing intrusions.
The Taiwanese Air Force is not one of the largest in Asia, in terms of planes that can meet threats, they need more.
According to the air force, the Fighting Falcon with a 44-year-old pilot was lost from radar. It was flying at a height of 6,000 feet or 1,800 meters in altitude, it just left the Hualien airbase for a sortie in Taiwan last Tuesday night, noted First Post.
A single-seat fighter is lost after an F-5E that crashed three weeks ago, killing the pilot as well. The mishap happened in the same circumstance as the Fighting Falcon when it crashed into the sea. It prompted the whole fleet to be grounded as well.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was quoted, telling reporters the course of action, "The rescue mission is our top priority now. The air force has grounded all F16s for checks and I've instructed an investigation into the cause of the incident."
One of the reasons why the loss or grounding of squadron is due to one unit failing and having to check for possible problems. The reduction of planes that can defend Taiwan from a mainland China invasion. Beijing espouses the one-China policy and desires to annex the small island.
The PLA AF has a vastly modernized air force and outnumbers Taiwan's. Their newer Fighting Falcons are the only planes in their inventory that stands a chance. Older airframes like the F5-E, French Dassault Mirages, and the locally built Indigenous Defence Fighter. Compared to these older planes, the Fighting Falcons can carry ship killer missiles, cited Jakarta Post.
A total of seven crashes of the F-16s happened from the original purchase in 1997, from the first deliveries of the variant involved in the crash.
One of the problems of keeping planes is the service life of the airframe. As China intentionally keeps on flying into the ADIZ of Taiwan, whose planes are subject to wear and tear. Planes will fail more if they go past the service life.
One of the reasons why the Chinese expend so many resources in their fly-bys is to probe how the opposite force responds. Another is to purposely cause the critical F-16s to wear out when actual combat comes. Taiwanese military resources are not as expansive, mentioned Al Jazeera.
All these air crashes are crucial blows to its military capacity and it needs all equipment, people it can muster. The only way to prevent a 'One-China' is by keeping all arms and not losing equipment.
Even the loss of any Taiwanese F-16 will determine the outcome of the Mainland China raid.