The island’s Defense Ministry mentioned the F-16V, probably the most superior sort in Taiwan’s fleet, went lacking from radar screens after taking off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan for a training mission over a coastal firing vary.
President Tsai Ing-wen issued directions to spare no efforts within the search and rescue mission and “to further clarify the cause of the accident,” her spokesman mentioned.
The authorities’s Rescue Command Center mentioned witnesses had seen the plane crash into the sea and helicopters and ships have been looking for the pilot.
Air Force Inspector-General Liu Hui-chien mentioned the plane had solely just lately been upgraded to the “V” model, with new weapons techniques and avionics.
Combat training 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 training mission.
Last 12 months, two F-5E fighters, which first entered service in Taiwan within the Nineteen Seventies, crashed into the sea off the southeast coast after they apparently collided in mid-air throughout a training mission.
While Taiwan’s air pressure is effectively educated, it has strained from repeatedly scrambling to see off Chinese army plane prior to now two years, although the accidents haven’t been linked in any solution 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 generally additionally into the airspace between Taiwan and the Philippines.