Taiwan aims to boost F-16 fleet readiness with parts buy

Taiwan is seeking to enhance its ability to sustain the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF)’s Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft fleet by acquiring spares, repair parts and associated equipment worth US$300 million.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 5 June that the US Department of State has approved two Foreign Military Sales (FMS) packages requested by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO).

The first, covering US$220 million worth of “standard” spares, repair parts, and related equipment; and the second, worth US$80 million, covers “non-standard” spares, repair parts, and related equipment. These will be drawn from the existing US Air Force inventory.

“This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the DSCA stated.

“The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region…it will improve the recipient’s ability to meet current and future threats by maintaining the operational readiness of the recipient’s fleet of F-16 aircraft,” added the agency.

The Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 6 June that the proposed sale is expected to enter force in about a month.

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan approved the procurement of 66 newbuild F-16V combat aircraft worth around US$8 billion to add to those already received under the RoCAF’s Phoenix Rising upgrade programme, which saw the upgrade of over 140 older F-16A/B aircraft to the F-16V standard.

The upgraded F-16 aircraft were fitted with the Northrop Grumman APG-83 active electronically scanned array Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), a new mission computer, as well as updates to their electronic warfare suite and avionics. The AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile and precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) have also been integrated.

by Jr Ng