A request by the government of Taiwan for the purchase of 66 new F-16V fighters against $ 13 billion was tendered to the United States, as part of the country’s aid to the country, which is now facing an increasingly powerful Chinese Air Force.
More specifically, following the upgrading program of the 115 F-16A Block20 & 28 F-16B Block20, Taiwan’s Air Force decided to proceed with a new armament program for 66 F-16V.
It is noteworthy that this program dates back to 2006, when for the first time the then government had expressed interest in the purchase of new F-16C / D Block52 fighters.
These aircraft were to replace the 23 legacy F-5E / RF-5E & 25 F-5F fighters, which are still in service today.
The Ministry of Defense of Taiwan submitted the request on February 27 to the Pentagon. This included, apart from the acquisition of the 66 F-16V, pilot and engineer training, spare parts, bibliography support, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and provision to support these fighters for a period of two years.
The decision of the Taiwan Government comes in response to the strengthening of the Chinese Air Force military presence in the regions just opposite Taiwan with the deployment of four Xian H-6 strategic bombers at Xingning Air Base which is located just 450 km from the island’s coastline.
Moreover, thanks to the rapid increase in Beijing’s defense spending and the enormous armaments program of the Chinese Air Force, Taiwan has no choice but to modernize its Air Force, which still does not have high-tech fighters in sufficient numbers. This is planned to change with the modernization of the 143 F-16A / B Block20 and the purchase of the 66 F-16Vs.
The Chinese armament program includes the construction of a large number of Shenyang J-11, Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-16 and Chengdu J-20 fighter jets (a total of more than 952 aircraft) and the new under-development strategic bomber.
The possible purchase of American fighters from Taiwan also has a Greek dimension, as the Hellenic Aerospace Industry has for many years been the main supplier of the manufacturer Lockheed Martin for specific parts of the F-16 fighter for any of the company’s global customers.
If the US approves the purchase by the government of Taiwan, it is likely that the Hellenic Aerospace Industry will undertake work for several more years, employing hundreds of workers, provided it makes timely investments linked to the Greek modernization program.