An F-5E fighter jet crashed off the coast of Taitung, southeastern Taiwan. The pilot died following the crash.

The accident took place shortly after the fighter took off from Chihhang Air Force Base of the Taiwan Air Force (ROCAF) in Taitung County for a training mission. When the aircraft malfunctioned, the pilot guided it away from a nearby settlement. He then managed to eject and was recovered. However, he suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated, according to local news.

The ROCAF fleet of F-5E trainers was grounded following the crash, while a preliminary investigation is being carried out. Taiwan has been operating 25 of the aging fighters as a complement to the more modern fleet of F-16 jets. 66 of the latter are currently on order, while the ones already in the ROCAF arsenal are undergoing upgrades.

China does not recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan. With Chinese incursions past the strategic central line of the Taiwan Strait becoming increasingly frequent, the United States government could soon sell over $7 billion in weapons, including surveillance drones, sea mines, and cruise missiles.

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The Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan reported that no less than eighteen Chinese military aircraft crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait on September 18, 2020. As a response, fighter jets were scrambled for an interception.
 
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Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense claims Chinese bombers and fighters breached its airspace on September 19, 2020, entering the country’s territory in a pincer movement and prompting Taiwan to scramble its own jets.