Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) The purchase of nine American-made CH-47SD Chinook helicopters from the United States will greatly augment the transportation capability of the Republic of China Army, a Defense Ministry official said on Thursday.
The nine advanced helicopters, manufactured by the Boeing company and valued at more than US$300 million, are part of American military sales to Taiwan.
Boeing announced on Wednesday that the first batch of the helicopters will be delivered next year, and the Defense Ministry official said they will form an air transportation battalion under the army's airborne brigade.
He said that the sales indicate that the US government's arms sales policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged, and added that Washington is expected to continue providing defensive weapons to Taiwan to ensure peace in the Asia-Pacific region, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.
The CH-47SD helicopter, manned by a three-man crew, is capable of carrying 54,000 pounds of cargo or 37 passengers at a speed of 140 knots. It can also be remodeled to accommodate 55 soldiers.
A related report said that over 600 helicopters of this model are in active service around the world, including the United States and Britain. (By Victor Lai)