Taiwan Air Force gets upgraded F-16s and test fires AIM-120 missiles

According to Taiwan News after a photo published on Instagram by Aeros808, Taiwanese F-16 fighters have been spotted in Hawaii on their way back home after being upgraded to the Block 70 variant. This photo published on May 13 showed two F-16s taking off at Daniel. K. Inoue International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii. One of the aircraft displayed serial number 6621, which is a Taiwanese military number, and the other displayed the serial number 93-708, which is an American number, Liberty Times reported.

Follow Air Recognition on Google News at this link

Taiwan Air Force gets upgraded F 16s and test fires AIM 120 missiles ROCAF F-16 upgraded to Block 70 standard taxiing in Hawaii on the way back to Taiwan (Picture source: Instagram account of Aeros808)

 According to Taiwanese military sources echoed by Taiwan News, a number of ROCAF F-16s are in the U.S. being retrofitted and will fly back to Taiwan in batches with the cooperation of Taiwanese and American pilots. The fighter jets will then be handed over to Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation for scheduled performance trials. Taiwan purchased 150 F-16 fighters from the U.S. in 1992 and delivered them in batches, with the first group arriving in April 1997.

On February 28, 2007, the US Defense Department approved an order made by the ROC for 218 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, as well as 235 AGM-65G2 Maverick missiles, associated launchers and other equipment. The total value of this order was revealed to be US$421 million.

The U.S. first agreed to sell 200 AIM-120 missiles to Taiwan in September 2000, but at the time it stored the weapons in Guam. It was not until China acquired the Russian-made Vympel NPO R-77 missile in 2003 that Washington shipped the AMRAAMs to Taiwan. In 2007, Taiwan purchased 218 more AIM-120s and deployed them in Hualien and Chiayi for its F-16 fleet stationed there. The Air Force test-fired its AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) on Tuesday 11 May 2021, marking the first time this missile was launched in Taiwan. Four F-16V fighters, each armed with two medium-range AIM-120 missiles and two short-range AIM-9X missiles, took off from Chiayi Air Force Base on May 11. Two of them launched an AIM-120 missile. Notice that Taiwanese Air Force pilots first test-fired the AIM-120 at Andersen Air Force Base(Guam) in October 2000, while the second time was at an air force base in Arizona in early 2001, Taiwan News recalls.