Taiwan signals it has requested US fighters, but not specific type

Taiwan has requested a fleet of new fighters from the United States, but it didn’t specify a type, leaving it up to the U.S. to recommend an option, according to defense officials.

Taiwanese Deputy Minister of National Defense Shen Yi-ming told reporters that the request for new fighters had been submitted, with the U.S to advise on the type and number of fighter jets that would be required to meet the country’s operational needs.

Speaking at a separate event, the head of the Taiwanese Air Force Command Headquarter’s Planning Division, Maj. Gen. Tang Hung-an, confirmed this, citing for reporters the recently submitted letter of request to the U.S. to buy a batch of fighter jets.

He was quoted by news outlet Focus Taiwan as saying that “the F-15, F-18, F-16 and even the F-35 are all among our options, as long as the jets help to strengthen our air defense capabilities.”

The defense officials were responding to an article in the Chinese language newspaper Apple Daily, which claimed that the request was to purchase a fleet of 66 Lockheed Martin F-16V fighter jets at a cost of $13 billion, as part of a package that would include missiles and related logistics, as well as the training of pilots and maintenance personnel.