MPs worry the group of fight jet pilots does not equally increase as Taiwan will receive 66 F-16 Vs from the US before 2026.
Presenter: Pilot shortage has become a pressing issue. While reform is needed to attract the best talents, the Ministry of National Defense said the island's low birth rate has hampered their recruitment efforts.
The US is scheduled to complete the delivery of the 66 F-16V fighters it sold to Taiwan by 2026, while deliveries of the domestically-produced T-5 Brave Eagle advanced jet trainer will begin in 2022. However, Taiwan is suffering from a chronic lack of pilots.A new report by the legislature's Organic Laws and Statute Bureau says the Air Force's crew ratio, which is the number of complete aircrews authorized per aircraft on unit establishment, is chronically low. The crew ratio is 1.33 for single-seat F-16s and 2.5 for two-seaters, which are both far below normal standards.
Chang Yen-ting, Former Air Force Deputy Commander:”The ratio should be at least two for single-seaters. The Air Force Academy's student recruitment situation is not ideal. Its required score is also really low, just 20.5, which is the lowest out of the three service academies. Under these circumstances, where there are barriers, the washout rate must be really high for students learning how to fly.”
Wang Ting-yu, Legislator (DPP):”The Ministry of National Defense gave us related information. It's my understanding right now that the crew ratio for Taiwan's fighter aircraft or military aircraft isn't an issue in terms of people or aircraft. “
The military is finding it hard to recruit students wanting to become pilots. Former Air Force Deputy Commander Chang Yen-ting bluntly said the declining birthrate is an issue, as well as the high proportion of myopic youths. The service academy system is also a big issue, and the Air Force Academy's required score is the lowest out of the three service academies. All of this makes it hard to produce qualified pilots. On the issue of talent retention, Chang advocated changes to salaries, promotions, and service pressure. In related news, the Ministry of National Defense has asked the legislature for NT$240 billion as a special procurement budget. National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Sept. 22 that the military needs to prepare for war without seeking war.
Chiu Kuo-cheng, National Defense Minister:”Everyone always has a lot of questions each time a special budget needs to be allocated, especially the ordinary people, since they also have the right to know.”
A ministry statement quoted a foreign media report that said the Taiwan Strait is the world's most dangerous spot. Chiu said foreign media reports are only one type of reference and the ministry considers all types of intelligence in making decisions and understanding the enemy.