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Taiwan mulls extending Dassault Mirage fighter jets’ service

Reporter Vivian Hsiao
Release time:2023/08/14 17:23
Last update time:2023/08/14 17:23
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Taiwan's Air Force announced plans to assess the service life extension of nine Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets on Monday (July 31), hoping to keep them in service for another 20 years.

Accomplishing this would require a budget of NT$150 million to invite French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation for a three-year evaluation of the fighters.

 

Experts remain divided on the decision, however. Some opponents argue that extending the aircraft's service life is insufficient, while others consider it necessary. 

Former Mirage 2000 Pilot Ying Tse-yang explained, "I won't say it's wrong that we extended the service period without a system upgrade because if you don't extend its service life, there's no room for an upgrade later on."

Military experts believe that extending the use of these jets is crucial to support a systematic upgrade in the future, and vice versa, but the question remains - at what cost?
 

Mirage 2000 fighter jets have long been used for training sessions and regular military deployments. Still, at NT$590,000 per hour of flight, their maintenance fee dramatically surpasses that of IDF and F-16 jets, which cost NT$220,000 and NT$150,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, with the gradual evolution of electronic warfare, concerns arise that the capabilities of the Mirage 2000 may become obsolete when faced with newer aircraft from across the Taiwan Strait. 

"We're still using electronic warfare systems from 26 years ago," retired Air Force lieutenant general Chang Yen-ting lamented. "The Chinese Communist Party has long stressed conducting battle under complex electromagnetic environments; how can we defend ourselves if we're still stuck with the system of two decades ago?"

The limited upgrades on the Mirage 2000 fighter jets remain the center of debate as cross-strait tensions continue to rise. With the technological evolution of current warfare, many worry that the older system may need to catch up with new forms of attacks.

However, as Taiwan awaits the arrival of 66 new F-16V fighter jets from the United States, retiring the Mirage 2000 aircraft could leave the nation at risk without sufficient air security.

The Taiwan Briefing

#Taiwan#Air Force#Mirage 2000#fighter jets#service life extension#cross-strait tensions#modernization#military#upgrade#longevity

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