Taipei, The commissioning of Taiwan's Apache attack helicopters is an important milestone in meeting the Armed Forces' "multiple deterrence" strategy in the event of an enemy invasion, President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said Tuesday.
Presiding over a ceremony that saw the commissioning of 29 Apaches into the Taoyuan-based Army Aviation and Special Forces Command, Tsai said the new choppers will play an important role in the military's "multiple deterrence, resolute defense" strategy.
"The commissioning of the helicopters is an important milestone in boosting the R.O.C. Armed Forces' combat readiness. The government will make sure to fully support the military to follow up and further enhance the helicopters' capabilities," Tsai said.
"Multiple deterrence" means having the ability to attack and defend on various fronts and to prevent enemy forces from entering Taiwan by air, land or sea, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Taiwan originally purchased 30 AH-64E Apache helicopters from the U.S. at cost of NT$59.31 billion (US$1.94 billion) in 2008, in a deal that included personnel training and logistics.
It took delivery of the aircraft from November 2013 to October 2014.
One of the helicopters was wrecked in a crash during a training flight in Taoyuan in April 2014 and the other 29 have been allocated to the Command's 601st Brigade.
In her address, President Tsai said it took four years and nine months for the Army to complete the required training for its pilots, ground crews and logistics personnel and to build the necessary infrastructure.
A qualified Apache pilot requires 84 weeks of training and 300 flying hours, according to Tsai.
The AH-64E, also known as the "tankbuster" or "tank killer," is equipped with powerful target acquisition radar that is capable of 360-degree operation to a range of 8 kilometers.
It can track over 128 targets simultaneously and sort out the 16 most dangerous ones and is also equipped with 16 Hellfire missiles that can be deployed in under 30 seconds, according to the Command.
Meanwhile, the Command on Tuesday also introduced Army Major Yang Yun-hsuan (???), a former pageant contestant in Hsinchu and the only female Apache pilot in Taiwan, to members of the media.
Yang told reporters that her father was once a UH-1H helicopter pilot, which inspired her to follow the same path.
Though the training process was challenging, Yang said she always believed she was on a par with her male counterparts and had what it took to complete it.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel