TAIPEI --- Taiwan's military confirmed Thursday that it is seeking to purchase several MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the United States, in an effort to replace its aging fleet of MD500 helicopters.
"We plan to purchase 10 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters," said Vice Adm. Hsiao Wei-ming, the Navy's chief of staff, in response to questions by a lawmaker during a hearing before the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Asked by lawmaker Lin Yu-fang of the Kuomintang, Hsiao confirmed the Navy's plan to procure new anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
The Seahawk helicopter is equipped for a range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, naval gunfire support and surveillance.
It will be the most advanced anti-submarine helicopters in the Navy's fleet when Taiwan acquires them, according to Hsiao.
After the Seahawks are added to Taiwan's fleet, they will join the Navy's S-70C helicopters in conducting anti-submarine warfare missions.
At Thursday's hearing, Deputy Defense Minister Adm. Chen Yung-kang also said that "the Navy's MD500 helicopters are very old."
As Taiwan is preparing to take delivery of two Perry-class guided missile frigates purchased from the U.S., it is necessary to acquire new aircraft to beef up the country's anti-submarine warfare capabilities, Chen said.