Taiwan receives two US early warning aircraft

Last Updated: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 21:12

Taipei: Taiwan received two upgraded early
warning aircraft from the United States on Saturday, the island`s
airforce said, as part of an arms deal that upset China-US
relations.

The arrival of the E-2K aircraft in southern Kaohsiung
city brings to four the number of such planes in Taiwan`s air
force, it said, after they were sent to the United States last
year for upgrades.

Taiwan acquired four E-2Ts in 1995 and added two E-2K, an
improved version of the Grumman Hawkeye series, in 2006.

A pair of E-2Ts were transported to the United States for
upgrading last month, as part of a USD 6.5 billion arms sale
agreed with Taiwan in 2008, which also included advanced
interceptor Patriot missiles, Apache attack helicopters and
submarine-launched missiles.

Analysts say the E-2K -- an all-weather early warning and
control system platform with an upgraded radar, software,
avionics and propellers -- will further reduce warning time if
China launched an air attack on the island.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly
since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came
to power in 2008 promising to boost trade links and allow more
Chinese tourists to visit the island.

But Beijing still sees Taiwan as part of its territory
awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the
island has governed itself since 1949 at the end of a civil
war.

China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should
the island declare formal independence, prompting Taipei to
seek more advanced weapons, largely from the United States.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 21:12

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