Wed, Feb 24, 2010 - Page 1 News List

DIA report may not sway US on F-16s

DEFENSE Air Force officials said their service was not as decrepit as the report implied, while Washington sources said there is only limited support for the sale in the Pentagon

By William Lowther and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WASHINGTON AND TAIPEI

“The Air Force is working to prolong the service life of its F-5 fighters, which have not reached the end of their operational service life as said in the report,” Han said.

He said the upgrading of capabilities of the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) has begun and the military had also completed medium and long-term proposals to upgrade its Mirage 2000 and F-16A/B jets.

The service must strengthen management of its fighter jets teams and its personnel before procuring next-generation fighters, Han said.

He said the Air Force would continue to seek procurement of F-16C/Ds as well as the most advanced fighter jets, with short distance take off and landing, advanced air-to-air attack and stealth capabilities.

Ministry spokesman Major General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) called on the US to continue to sell Taiwan arms in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.

During a question-and-answer session with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) at the legislature yesterday, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said Taiwan would not give up its efforts to buy the F-16C/Ds.

“The imbalance of cross-strait military capabilities started to change many years ago. It is very difficult for us to overturn the situation by spending a large amount of money procuring large amounts of military equipment in a short period of time. Spending the money does not live up to the public’s interest, either,” Wu said.

The government needs to purchase “necessary, practical and reasonably priced” equipment, he said.

“The US has not agreed to the sale of F-16C/D fighter jets and submarines, but we are still negotiating ... we will not give up on the F-16C/Ds fighters and submarines because they are important to us,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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