The Taiwan defence ministry will consider a proposal to scrap the air force’s Mirage 200 jets from service or seal and store part of the fleet, according to Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu.

The air force’s budget for 2010 shows that the operation and maintenance cost of the Mirage 2000 is earmarked at about $24,840 a flight hour.

In comparison, it costs about $4,937 a flight hour to fly the nation’s F-16 fighters and $7,715 a flight hour for the country’s self-developed indigenous defence fighters.

The air force ordered 60 Mirage jets in 1992, the first squadron of which came into service in December 1997. Currently, 57 of the planes are still in service.

Inspite of the jet’s capabilities, the fighter has not been able to achieve operational availability due to the high cost of parts and components and relevant technical maintenance problems, Taiwan Daily reports.

The seal and store measure that is currently being adopted by the air force will allow for temporary bypassing of routine checks of the aircraft, saving costs by reducing man-hours.

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