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Taiwan loses contact with one of its F-16V fighters, search and rescue op underway

Taiwan F-16V loss
Taiwan defense ministry file photo of the arrival of one of the upgraded F-16V fighters at Chiayi Air Base in November 2021

The Taiwanese Air Force has lost contact with one of its F-16V single-seat fighter jets that was flying from Chiayi Air Base.

The defense ministry confirmed on January 11 confirmed the loss of contact, adding that the aircraft was on a routine training mission.

The search for the fighter jet, which has the tail number 6650, is currently underway.

According to the defense ministry statement, the lost fighter is one of the airframe that has undergone the upgrade to the F-16V configuration as part of the Phoenix Rising Project. Led by Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) and supported by Lockheed Martin, the upgrade is expected to cost up to $5.3 billion with a completion date of 2023.

Taiwan commissioned its first upgraded F-16Vs in November 2021.

Update: Taiwan has grounded its fleet of F-16 fighters as the search for the lost aircraft continues. The search and rescue efforts are being managed by the country’s Rescue Command Centre, which said the aircraft was spotted crashing into the sea by witnesses.