Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Ministry in fighters-upgrade wrangle

DANGER ZONE:The air force could save a lot of money if it asked suppliers to bid on the jets’ upgrade, but the Ministry of National Defense seems to have only one supplier in mind

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter

However, he said Taiwan’s air force did not appear to fully comprehend the benefits of doing so, despite lobbying by BAE.

Although BAE has yet to perform AESA integration, Persson said the company was capable of doing so, regardless of which model is selected by Taiwan.

Despite the close institutional ties between the USAF, Taiwan’s air force and Lockheed Martin, BAE was confident it could accomplish systems integration for the upgrade package, pointing to other instances where it did so on airframes it had not designed, such as Boeing’s F-18s used by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Asked for comment, ministry spokesperson David Lo (羅紹和) said the upgrade was “a done deal” and that the military would not comment on whether the European firm is interested in or capable of upgrading Taiwan’s F-16A/Bs.

BAE Systems is the US segment of UK-based BAE Systems PLC.

Lo said F-16A/Bs are a product of Lockheed and should therefore be upgraded by their original maker, Lockheed, “because the company has secrets and owns the technology for the combat aircraft.”

South Korea is expected to announce its decision in the first or second quarter of next year.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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