Taiwan sends 2 early-warning planes to U.S. for upgrades
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2010-06-23 03:53 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Two E-2T early-warning planes traveled through Kaohsiung by road on their way to the United States for upgrades, reports said Wednesday.

Washington agreed in October 2008 to upgrade Taiwan’s four Northrop Grumman E-2T early-warning aircraft to E-2K Hawkeye status, reports said.

The two first planes received widespread public attention when they traveled over roads from Kaohsiung’s Hsiaokang Airport to the city’s port early Wednesday morning, reports said. The aircraft were “disguised” by white plastic covers, though they still attracted the attention of passersby and reporters who made numerous pictures.

Trucks towed the planes, topped by obvious radar dishes and with their wings folded, in the company of more than 130 officers from the Kaohsiung City Police, the airport police, harbor police, coast guard, military police, special units and fire services, reports said.

The planes had first flown in from a base in Pingtung County, and would travel from Kaohsiung to the U.S. on a Taiwanese freighter.

The upgrading of the aircraft will be completed in 2012 at a total cost of NT$5.6 billion (US$175 million), the military said. The four planes, which have been serving in Taiwan for 15 years, will be upgraded in two batches of two each in order to allow the Air Force to keep some early-warning capability, reports said.

Taiwan also has two of the new E-2K aircraft. The newer versions are better at distributing information to other aircraft, including F16 fighter jets, and can connect with anti-aircraft missiles for better air defense at sea, reports said.

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