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USA approves sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan


The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States) for the 66 F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $8 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 20.


USA approves sale of 66 F 16 fighters to Taiwan F-16 fighters (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)


Taiwan will get the latest version of the Lockheed Martin-built fighter, the F-16C/D Block 70. The F-16 Block 70/72 combines capability upgrades, most notably the advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar with a new avionics architecture, and structural upgrades to extend the structural life of the aircraft by more than 50 percent beyond that of previous production F-16 aircraft. F-16 Block 70 software takes advantage of technologies not available when earlier Block F-16s were developed and produced. Operational capabilities are enhanced through an advanced datalink, targeting pod and weapons; precision GPS navigation and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).

This potential sale also includes engines, Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, bombs, guided bombs, countermeasures systems, ammunitions and other equipments and support.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, welcomed the sale, saying "these fighters are critical to improving Taiwan's ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People's Republic of China".

Taiwan's plan to upgrade its air defences comes amid increasing Chinese military incursions into its airspace. Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of China awaiting reunification, but the island is self-ruled and is a close ally of the US.