The air force yesterday said it would seek to purchase an advanced radar system from the US as part of a package to upgrade its aging F-16A/B fleet and denied a report that it would buy a downgraded system from Washington.
The US in September last year agreed to help Taiwan upgrade its 145 F-16A/B aircraft at an estimated cost of US$5.1 billion.
The Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that the air force had to pay for the US to downgrade the 176 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar systems that were included in the package.
However, the air force said in a statement it would make a request to the US to purchase the same type of radar used by the US military.
Two US firms — Raytheon and Northrop Grumman — produce the AESA systems.
“There is no such thing as buying downgraded equipment,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Taipei would also continue to negotiate with Washington on lowering the costs in the package allocated to research and development, the statement said.
The Taipei Times reported last week that the Executive Yuan was only allocating US$3.7 billion for the upgrade program.
In the ongoing talks with the US on the details of the package, the air force is expected to ask that work on the upgrade project be carried out jointly in hopes that a transfer of technological capabilities will enhance Taiwan’s defense industry.