F-16 disappears off Taiwan's eastern coast, fate still unclear

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) – Taiwan is searching for an F-16 fighter jet and its pilot after losing contact with the aircraft Tuesday night (Nov 17) during a training exercise.

It is the second training incident in the past month, coming at a time of increasing incursions by China into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

The jet piloted by Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih, 44, disappeared from radar at an altitude of more than 6,000 feet only two minutes after takeoff from Hualien Air Base on Taiwan’s east coast during a night training mission, Taiwan air force commander Hsieh Jih-sheng told reporters Tuesday night.

Taiwan’s aging fleet has been a source of concern as its air force scrambles jets daily to intercept Chinese military aircraft flying close to Taiwan.

The Ministry of National Defence said that a Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft and a Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Tuesday morning.

Taiwan has scrambled almost 3,000 jets this year in response to approaches by more than 1,700 Chinese aircraft, Defence Minister Yen De-fa told legislators in October.

More on this topic

Sign up for the ST Asian Insider newsletter to get exclusive insights into Asia from our network of overseas correspondents.

Source: Read Full Article