China’s New Fighter Prompts Renewed F-16 Plea from Taiwan

asian defence and technology

Taiwanese president Ma Ying-Jeou renewed Taiwan's plea for more F-16s, citing China’s recent unveiling of the J-20 stealth fighter. The Republic of China Air Force wants 66 F-16C/D versions to re-equip one of its five fighter wings. According to a report in The Washington Times, the U.S. has decided to offer Taiwan an upgrade for its 150-strong fleet of 1980 era F-16A/B models instead, hoping it will be less likely to stir opposition from Beijing.

While the F-16A/B is considered an obsolete platform (in the U.S. these aircraft are converted into flying targets) given the aircraft have enough lifespan, such upgrade could dramatically boost the capabilities and availability of these obsolete fighters, with the replacement of radars into Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA), helmet display sights and more advanced missiles.

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