The island’s Protection Ministry mentioned the F-16V, probably the most superior kind in Taiwan’s fleet, went lacking from radar screens after taking off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan for a coaching mission over a coastal firing vary.
President Tsai Ing-wen issued directions to spare no efforts within the search and rescue mission and “to additional make clear the reason for the accident,” her spokesman mentioned.
The federal government’s Rescue Command Heart mentioned witnesses had seen the plane crash into the ocean and helicopters and ships had been trying to find the pilot.
Air Power Inspector-Common Liu Hui-chien mentioned the plane had solely not too long ago been upgraded to the “V” model, with new weapons methods and avionics.
Fight coaching for the F-16 fleet has now been suspended, he added.
In late 2020, an F-16 vanished shortly after taking off from the Hualien Air Base on Taiwan’s east coast on a routine coaching mission.
Final yr, two F-5E fighters, which first entered service in Taiwan within the Nineteen Seventies, crashed into the ocean off the southeast coast after they apparently collided in mid-air throughout a coaching mission.
Whereas Taiwan’s air pressure is effectively skilled, it has strained from repeatedly scrambling to see off Chinese language navy plane previously two years, although the accidents haven’t been linked in any strategy to these intercept actions.
China, which claims the democratic island as its personal, has been routinely sending plane into Taiwan’s air protection zone, principally in an space across the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands however typically additionally into the airspace between Taiwan and the Philippines.