Taiwanese rescuers on Wednesday located the wreckage of a F-16V jet that crashed into the sea less than two months after the island launched the first squadron of its most advanced fighters. The jet disappeared from radar screens around half an hour after taking off for a routine training mission from its base in southwestern Taiwan on Tuesday. The air force said the jet plunged into the sea with no sign of the 28-year-old pilot ejecting in time. After an all-night search involving multiple helicopters, coastguard vessels and more than 60 officials, the national rescue centre said fuselage wreckage had been found but there were no signs of the pilot. The incident has dealt a blow to the new squadron of US-made F-16V s that was commissioned in November as Taiwan upgraded its ageing fleet amid rising tensions with Beijing. The air force has temporarily grounded its entire F16 fleet. Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to take it one day, by force if necessary. Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has ramped up economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. Taiwan’s air force has suffered a string of fatal accidents in recent years as its kept under constant pressure by mainland China, which has ramped up incursions into its air defence zone since 2020. Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by People’s Liberation Army warplanes into its air defence zone, according to a database compiled by AFP, more than double the roughly 380 carried out in 2020. Last March, Taiwan grounded all military aircraft after a pilot was killed and another went missing when their fighters collided mid-air in the third fatal crash in less than six months.