Taiwan military decommissions UH-1H utility helicopters

2019/10/30 16:58:42 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
A view of the UH-1H utility helicopters decomissioing ceremony in Taichung.

A view of the UH-1H utility helicopters decomissioing ceremony in Taichung.

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) Taiwan's military officially decommissioned all of its remaining six UH-1H utility helicopters, which have been in service for nearly five decades, in a ceremony held Wednesday at a Taichung military base.

In the event held at the Army's 602nd Aviation Brigade, the UH-1Hs were officially retired and their responsibilities handed over to a fleet of UH-60M Black Hawk choppers bought from the United States.

Speaking during the ceremony, Army Commander General Chen Po-yu (陳寶餘) said that with nearly 50 years in service, the choppers had logged a total of seven million flying hours in three million sorties.

The aircraft has performed well in both military exercises and during disaster relief and humanitarian rescue missions, Chen said.

The retired choppers will be handed over to the Air Force and aviation academies for educational purposes, he added.

A military source told CNA that some of them will also be sent to Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Africa, eSwatini.

Taiwan has previously given away nine UH-1Hs to a number of the nation's allies, including Paraguay, Honduras, Guatemala and Burkina Faso. The African country cut ties with Taiwan in May 2018.

According to the Army, the UH-1Hs are a joint product licensed by U.S-based Bell Helicopter to the Taiwan government-funded Taichung-based Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) in March 1969.

The nation's first UH-1H was built in 1970. From 1970 to 1976, 118 of the helicopters were built for the Army.

The U.S. government announced in 2010 that it would sell Taiwan a total of 60 UH-60M Black Hawks, worth a total of US$3.1 billion. Taiwan has so far taken delivery of more than half of them.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)
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