September 23, 2004 (by Stefaan Vanhastel) - The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) took delivery this month of 200 AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles.
The weapons had been ordered in 2000 but were stocked in the US in order not to upset the arms balance between China and Taiwan
On Tuesday September 21st, two RoCAF
F-16 block 20
aircraft took off from Hualien AB for their first training flight with the missiles. Up til now, Taiwanese pilots could only train with the missiles in the US.
The deal had been approved by the US back in 2000, but Washington would not deliver the weapons unless Taiwan faced a serious threat. After Chinese Su-30 aircraft test-fired the Russian AA-12 missiles, the US agreed to deliver the missiles.