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Taiwan to purchase new American fighter jets


Taiwan has submitted an official request to the United States to purchase a fleet of new fighter jets to beef up its air defense capability.


Taiwan to purchase new American fighter jets Taiwan air force F-16 fighter jet (Picture source:  Voice of America/Public Domain)


The air force considers Lockheed Martin F-16A/B/Vs, Dassault Mirage F-2000-5s and AIDC F-CK-1s its best fighters, of which there are 326, but “the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s growing air power is causing an “imbalance” across the Taiwan Strait”, Air Force Chief of Planning Major General Tang Hung-an said.

The military would not object to any type of jet fighter that meets its operational requirements and would make no mention of “what the armed forces want” in any communications with the US, Tang said. Instead, the military would wait for the US’ recommendations, and then select and negotiate the price accordingly.

Taiwan's military is currently upgrading its 144 F-16 A/B jets to F-16Vs as part of a US$3.68 billion project launched by the government in 2016. The retrofit program includes installing advanced equipment such as the AN/APG active electronically scanning array radar system, which is in use on American F-22 and F-35 fighters.

The comprehensive upgrade of the Air Force's entire F-16 fleet is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, according to the MND.