The two planes were accompanying an EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft, some reports said. When a technical problem occurred with one of the Hornets, the crew of the Prowler reportedly asked Tainan for permission to land, which was accorded.
The two jets landed in the southern Taiwanese city at 1:19 p.m. to undergo technical checkups, reports said. The news of the landing was confirmed by both the Ministry of National Defense and the American Institute in Taiwan, which refused to make further comments. The military however denied that the Prowler had landed as well.
Taiwan and the US do not maintain official diplomatic relations, and any diplomatic or military cooperation is a sensitive topic for China. The aircraft reportedly only entered Taiwanese airspace when the unspecified technical problem became apparent.
They had taken off from a base on the Japanese island of Okinawa and were making a routine flight in the area, reports said. The US was reportedly expected to send over a team of technicians to Tainan because the Taiwanese Air Force does not own any F-18 jets and therefore does not have the required expertise.
The F-18, also known as the Hornet, is a twin-engine supersonic jet which can be used both as a fighter and an attack jet. The Prowler can jam enemy radar systems and collect radio intelligence.