ROC NAVY ORDERS 11 US-MADE ANTI-SUBMARINE HELICOPTERS
Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) The Republic of China Navy has ordered 11 S-70C anti-submarine helicopters from the United States which be will used to form a second anti-submarine aviation group when they are delivered next year, a navy officer said on Friday.
According to the officer, the navy has established an aviation command to step up its anti-submarine capability.
In addition to the S-2T anti-submarine aircraft transferred from the air force, the naval aviation command already possesses nine S-70C anti-submarine helicopters, being deployed aboard the French-made La Fayette frigates and the domestically-made Cheng-kung frigates.
The naval aviation command plans to form a second anti-submarine group when the S-70C helicopters are delivered, said the officer.
The all-weather S-70C helicopter has a patrol speed of 100 knots per hour. They are able to fly for up to four and a half hours when additional fuel tanks are attached.
In the wake of ROC President Lee Teng-hui's redefinition of Taiwan-mainland relations as a "special state-to-state relationship" early last month, cross-Taiwan Strait tension escalated as jet fighters from both sides increased their patrol sorties over the strait.
But the naval officer said there have no signs that mainland Chinese submarines were operating in the Taiwan Strait during the past year, adding that no unusual mainland naval movements were detected following Lee's state-to-state statement. (By Victor Lai)