U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) thinks Taiwan should be allowed to join the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), making that Asian country eligible for more of the organization’s safety oversight support. The People’s Republic of China is an established ICAO member state and the latest proposal is controversial because it does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.
Lockheed Martin ferried to Morocco the first four of 24 F-16C/D Block 52s being supplied to the Royal Moroccan Air Force from its Fort Worth, Texas, plant under a 2008 foreign military sale. With those deliveries under way, the company said its F-16 backlog stands at 58 aircraft, sustaining production until mid-2013.
Taiwan’s air force is giving a hangar at Taipei Songshan Airport to the Civil Aeronautics Administration for use as the Asian country’s first business aviation zone. The hangar is “on loan” until the legal proceedings to make the deal permanent are completed. The new business aviation zone is expected to be up and running next month.
China has threatened to impose sanctions against the U.S. companies whose equipment forms part of a controversial new arms package for Taiwan that was announced last Friday. They include Boeing and Sikorsky, who enjoy brisk sales
to China of airliners and civilian helicopters, respectively.
Investors from the United Arab Emirates are trying to purchase a majority share of financially troubled would-be jet manufacturer Sino Swearingen Aircraft, according to a news report published by Taiwan’s Central News Agency. However, the buyout plan might be subject to Taiwanese government approval following a planned presentation
Mainland China is increasing the pressure on Taiwan’s air defenses. Modernized with more than 250 J-11 fighters (Russian or license-built Sukhoi Su-27/30) and 50 Chinese-designed J-10 interceptors, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is flying combat air patrols up to the middle of the Taiwan Straits. This has been the unofficial dividing line between China and Taiwan for more than 50 years.
As Sino Swearingen prepares to shift from certification flight-testing to full-scale production of the SJ30-2, it has also shifted the CEO title from company president Carl Chen to chairman Ching-Chiang Kuo. “Chen still remains in charge of the day-to-day activities at the company,” a spokesman told AIN.
Taiwan’s government is expected to lift a long-standing prohibition of private aircraft ownership in the first quarter of next year. Several charter providers that already operate helicopters as permitted under existing rules have indicated, off the record, that they are now making plans to buy business jets later this year.
The concern of some watchers is just what the end game is for China’s more than 15-year drive to modernize its defense industrial base. Part of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) goal is to keep generating revenue with the type of foreign arms sales that made so much money for it in the 1980s.