Taiwan’s parliament approves US$8.2bn funding to buy 66 US F-16V warplanes

Taiwan’s parliament has approved a budget of NT$250 billion (US$8.2 billion) for 66 F-16V Fighting Falcon jet fighters from the United States.

The vote as the US House of Representatives foreign relations committee prepared to vote on a bill aimed at helping Taipei to resist diplomatic pressure from Beijing.

Legislators from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party and main opposition Kuomintang approved the budget on Tuesday, allowing the military NT$250 billion over seven consecutive years through either public debt or from a surplus in the previous financial year’s budget.

For the government to raise public debt, it must not exceed 15 per cent of the amount of general and special government expenditures each year, the parliament said.

“We have set the ceiling at NT$250 billion for the purchase of the jets, meaning the total procurement amount will not exceed that limit,” the DPP’s Wang Ting-yu said, referring to media reports that the deal would run to as much as US$12.8 billion and squeeze funds for other weapons purchases.

The planned purchase was made possible in August after US President Donald Trump’s administration approved the sale of 66 Viper variants of the F-16, which include the latest aviation electronics, radar and air warfare systems. It is Taiwan’s biggest air defence breakthrough since the US sold it 150 F-16A/B jets in 1992.