US-based Lockheed Martin Corp announced on Monday it has been awarded a US$1.85 billion contract by the US government to initiate the upgrade of Taiwan’s 145 Block 20 F-16A/B fighter jets.
The multi-year retrofit is part of a US$5.2 billion package notified to US Congress in September last year and will include Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, embedded global positioning and upgrades to the electronic warfare systems and avionics.
The defense firm, which will also be the prime integrator for the upgrade of 300 US Air Force (USAF) F-16s, said both programs would be based on the F-16V, for “Viper,” configuration. The new version, the result of input from the USAF and foreign clients, was unveiled at the Singapore Air Show.
“Lockheed Martin looks forward to a continued partnership with the Republic of China in upgrading their F-16s,” Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed, was quoted as saying.
“Based on elements of the F-16V configuration, Taiwan’s air force will receive the most advanced F-16 upgrades. This program reinforces the strong value proposition associated with commonality between the USAF F-16 program and the worldwide F-16 user community,” he said in a press release.
George Standridge, vice president of business development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the technologies involved in the F-16V could help customers better interoperate with fifth-generation aircraft, such as the F-35 and F-22.
Lockheed spokeswoman Laura Siebert said about 200 people will work on the contract.
All the engineering work will be done in Fort Worth, Texas, and work on a number of aircraft will be conducted there initially, the Star Telegram reported. However, the bulk of the upgrade work will be done in Taiwan, where Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the US firm earlier this year, will install the upgrade kits delivered by Lockheed. Upgrades will be performed on 24 aircraft at a time, with installation starting in 2016 and delivery of the first upgraded jets by 2021.
Two firms, Raytheon Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp, are competing for the AESA contract.
Taiwan and the US signed a US$3.7 billion letter of acceptance for the upgrade package in July. Industry sources told the Taipei Times that Taipei remains committed to the US$5.2 billion program.
FEW REMAIN: Conservationists tried to stop the demolition, but to no avail, and the owner cannot be fined, as the structure was not listed as a historical building One of the few remaining Japanese colonial-era granaries in Taiwan was dismantled by its owner on Friday, prompting outrage from conservationists. The granary, which was at No. 16, Lane 11, Hangzhou S Rd Sec 1 in Taipei, belonged to Taiwan Takushoku Corp during the colonial era, conservationist Chang Wan-lin (張琬琳) said, adding that she and others had been collecting information to reapply to have the building protected as a historical structure. During the colonial era, the granary served the area from Monga (艋舺) to what is now Songshan District (松山) in the north, she said. “Back then the eastern part
SEEING THE POSITIVE: A majority of respondents in Taiwan said that they favored Trump because they think Taiwan-US ties would improve with him Among eight Asia-Pacific countries and regions, only Taiwan prefers US President Donald Trump over his challenger, former US vice president Joe Biden, in the upcoming US presidential election, a survey released on Thursday showed. According to the poll published by UK-based market research firm YouGov, 42 percent of Taiwanese favor Trump in the Nov. 3 election, while 30 percent back Biden and 28 percent have no opinion. In contrast, respondents in Malaysia favor Biden over Trump 62 percent to 9 percent, and in Singapore by 66 percent to 12 percent, the survey showed. Biden also led Trump in Australia (60 percent to 21
TROUBLEMAKER: The missiles, capable of striking up to 2,000km away, would likely be used to deter other nations from coming to Taiwan’s aid, a legislator said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reportedly deployed advanced hypersonic missiles along China’s southeast coast, which Taiwan’s missile defense system might have difficulty intercepting, an analyst said yesterday. Citing an unnamed military source, the South China Morning Post said that the missile bases on the coasts of China’s Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have been upgraded and are stocked with DF-17 missiles, equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles. “The DF-17 hypersonic missile will gradually replace the old DF-11s and DF-15s that were deployed in the southeast region for decades,” said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “The
Hong Kong air traffic controllers turning away a Taiwanese flight last week might have been China’s first move in a broader campaign to restrict Taiwan’s air access to its outlying islands, a retired air force general said on Saturday. The government needs to establish a response plan in the event that aircraft are denied entry to Flight Information Regions (FIRs) en route to Kinmen and Matsu, among others islands, retired lieutenant general Chang Yen-ting (張延廷) said. The Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior, as well as the Straits Exchange Foundation and Mainland Affairs Council, must