DPP legislator proposes ATR patrol aircraft for maritime surveillance

TAIPEI (The China Post) – In response to a recent Chinese jet incursion across the Taiwan Strait, Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed that Taiwan boosts its defense by using S-2T anti-submarine aircrafts. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) rejected the proposal, but Chung again suggested on April 10 to use the ATR 72MP patrol aircraft for maritime surveillance.

According to Air Force Chief of Staff Liu Jen-yuan (劉任遠), the military should stick to its defense principle and refrain from encouraging national conflicts. More importantly, the S-2T aircrafts are already outdated and were decommissioned in December 2017, according to the ministry.

Chung further cited Japan Coast Guard for converting the civilian propeller aircraft into a sea surveillance aircraft. “Taiwan can do the same too and let retired pilots fly the surveillance aircraft so that they can continue to serve the country,” said Chung.

In response to Chung comments, MND officials said that further assessment would be required since S-2T pilots are already flying the P-3C aircraft and there is insufficient manpower in this regard for the time being.