The 66 F-16C/D Block 70 jets Taiwan is purchasing from the US would be stationed in eastern Taiwan to boost the military’s defense capabilities against Chinese aircraft carriers, defense specialists have said.
The government on Saturday announced that it had officially sealed the deal with the US earlier this month after the two sides signed a letter of offer and acceptance.
Military officials said that the US is expected to deliver one F-16C Block 70 single-seater jet and one F-16D Block 70 two-seater aircraft in 2023 for testing.
All 66 aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2026.
A military source on Saturday said that the addition of the F-16Vs would bring the air force’s total number of fighter jets to 350.
The air force has a fleet of 46 Mirage 2000s, 105 locally built Indigenous Defense Fighters and 142 F-16A/B jets that are being upgraded to have the same specifications as the F-16V.
Although the number is still no match for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) 2,000 fighter jets, 700 of which pose a threat to Taiwan, as they are stationed on China’s southeastern coast, Taiwan would have a better chance of defending itself with 350 fighters and air-defense systems, the source said.
Taiwan’s fighter jets are better armed than some older-generation PLAAF jets such as the J-10, J-11, Su-30 and Su-35, they said.
They might not be a match for the PLAAF’s fifth-generation J-20 stealth aircraft, but they could contain J-20s with the help of E-2K early warning aircraft, they added.
The new F-16Vs would be stationed at the Taitung Air Force Base, the source said, adding that 56 of them would be single-seaters and the rest two-seaters, meaning that the air force would need 107 pilots to fly them.
Commenting on the new aircraft’s deployment, Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Institute of Strategic and International Affairs, said that the decision to base the advanced jets in eastern Taiwan aims to deal with the increasing threat from Chinese aircraft carriers.
Most of the nation’s military installations and weapons systems have been deployed along the west coast, as the most direct Chinese military threat was through the Taiwan Strait, he said.
However, with China now deploying bombers, fighter jets and vessels beyond the first island chain and in the Western Pacific, Lin said that the threat also comes from the east.
Chinese defense experts have said that China’s navy might send an aircraft carrier south along the Strait, with another heading north along Taiwan’s east coast to threaten Taiwan from both sides, he said.
Deploying the new F-16Vs and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles on the east coast would thus serve as deterrent to Chinese military intimidation, Lin added.
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: