- Led by Captain Chen Yi, the F-16V was lost on the seashore during a routine backstroke exercise near Jiayi County, in western Taiwan, 30 minutes after taking off from the base.
- The ministry said the plane disappeared from radar at 15:23 Taiwan time. Weather conditions were good
- There are no indications that the pilot managed to eject, nor did he send distress messages. A witness and the pilot of the second plane saw the machine fall into the sea and disappear under the water’s surface. Currently, no scenario has been ruled out for the causes of the disaster
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The aircraft lasted 3,415 flying hours, 401 of which were after it was upgraded to version 5 and underwent a routine inspection in December.
The fighter is one of the F-16A/B aircraft upgraded to the F-16V by the American company Lockheed Martin and the Taiwanese Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation. for nearly $4 trillion. In addition to the ongoing modernization program, Taiwan has also ordered 66 new F-16Vs from the Americans, which are scheduled to begin deliveries next year.
F-16s were first purchased from the United States in 1997 and are in service with the Taiwanese army to this day.
Among others, helicopters and ships of the Navy and Coast Guard. The police and firefighters will assist in this work.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Facebook that she had instructed the Defense Ministry to do its best to conduct an investigation and explain the causes of the accident.
According to the Central News Agency, eight F-16 fighters have crashed in Taiwan in the past 24 years. 3 pilots died in the accident and 5 are missing.
In November 2020, Taiwan decided to ground the F-16 after it crashed into the sea near Hualian County in eastern Taiwan. Just three weeks ago, an F-5E crashed during a routine exercise, and in February 2021 two F-5Es crashed during a joint exercise. The Department of Defense has reported that it plans to replace all F-5Es within 3 years.
Pressure on Taiwan has increased in recent months and the number of incidents involving Chinese forces in the South China Sea has increased dramatically. In January, the military forces of the People’s Republic of China penetrated the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) almost daily – on Tuesday, there were 5 Chinese aircraft, including 4 Shenyang J-16 fighters.
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