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Taiwan earthquake damages RoCAF combat aircraft

The earthquake in Taiwan affected infrastructure at Hualien city and also damaged Lockheed Martin F-16V aircraft (pictured) at the airport. This representative photo from August 2022 shows two F-16Vs at the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) base in the airport. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taiwanese government has said the 3 April earthquake in the country damaged eight combat aircraft of the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF).

In a statement on 4 April, the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the earthquake resulted in “sliding contact” damage to six Lockheed Martin F-16V aircraft and two Northrop F-5 Tigers at Hualien Air Force Base, southeast of Taipei.

According to the MND and state-owned media, the earthquake caused boarding ladders affixed to the side of aircraft on readiness to vibrate and slide across the front of the aircraft. “This resulted in minor surface abrasions,” the MND said. “The aircraft were inspected, and it was determined that the airframe could be repaired immediately. The damage will not affect the combat readiness of the aircraft.”

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake occurred at 0758 h local time on 3 April. According to information published by the Taiwanese government, the epicentre of the earthquake was in the Shoufeng Township area, about 24 km south of Hualien Airport.

According to Taiwan's Central Weather Administration (CWA), the earthquake's intensity was highest in Hualien. The CWA said the earthquake at Hualein measured a 6+ on Taiwan's 7-tier intensity scale.

Hualien is a key location for the RoCAF. The airport is home to the RoCAF's 5th (401st) Tactical Fighter Wing, with four squadrons equipped with F-16s, RF-5Es, and F-5Fs. Hualien is also one of only two airbases on Taiwan's east coast.

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