Taiwan will not be getting the 66 F-16C/D aircraft it has been requesting since 2007, a Ministry of National Defense official has confirmed, and fewer of its older F-16s will be retrofitted, news that could strike a blow to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration as it heads into elections next January.
“We are so disappointed in the United States,” the official told Defense News on the sidelines of the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), which ended on Saturday, blaming the decision on pressure from Beijing.
The article, released last night and written by the magazine’s Asia Bureau chief, Wendell Minnick, said a US Department of Defense delegation had arrived in Taiwan last week to deliver the news to Taipei and that as an alternative it had offered to secure the upgrade package for Taiwan’s ageing fleet of F-16A/B aircraft.
“The US Pentagon is here explaining what is in the upgrade package,” a US defense industry source told the magazine. “They are going to split the baby: no C/Ds, but the A/B upgrade is going forward.”
“The switch is meant to soften the blow of denying new planes to Taipei,” a source at Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-16, told Defense News.
Part of the deal, which sources said would be made toward the end of this month, would include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, Defense News said.
The AESA radar will likely be Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) or the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR), although a source told the Taipei Times last week that some components of the SABR may yet to have cleared export licensing from the US government.
According to the magazine, the upgrade would make Taiwan’s F-16s among the most capable variants of the aircraft, “perhaps second only to the APG-80 AESA-equipped F-16E/Fs flown by the United Arab Emirates.”
However, in a follow-up conversation with the Taipei Times, Minnick said it now appeared that, contrary to initial plans to have the entire 146 F-16A/Bs upgraded, fewer aircraft would be retrofitted.
“My sources now indicate the A/B upgrade could be limited to only one of the two F-16 wings” that comprise the Taiwanese air force, he said.
It was unclear whether the limited upgrades were decided by the US or Taiwan. The cost for the requested F-16C/Ds was estimated at US$5.5 billion, while the upgrade program for Taiwan’s 146 F-16A/Bs was set at US$4.2 billion.
The American Institute in Taiwan yesterday denied a decision had been made on the F-16 C/D sale.
BREAKING RECORDS: Kuo Hsing-chun’s snatch, clean and jerk, and combined lifts were all Olympic records, although well off her combined world record Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) yesterday completed her elusive quest for Olympic gold, clinching Taiwan’s first win at the Tokyo Games as she set Olympic records in the women’s under-59kg weight class. Kuo, who has not lost a major competition in her weight class since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was hampered by injury and finished third, finally chased down the gold medal that had long remained just out of her grasp. The 27-year-old finished with a combined lift of 236kg — 103kg in the snatch and 133kg in the clean and jerk — 21kg more
NEXT ROUND: About 1.44 million people who have registered online to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine are to get text messages today to book a vaccine appointment Strict border control measures, including a ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting through Taiwan, are to continue, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 10 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said five of the cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending it. The sources of infection of eight cases have been identified, one remains unclear and one is under investigation, he said, adding that 87.8 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 since May 11 have been released from isolation. Chen said an
NO ‘ONE CHINA’ LIE: The appropriations act passed the US House of Representatives with a vote of 217-212, but still needs Senate approval and the president’s signature The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a foreign assistance spending bill with an amendment forbidding that funds be used to create, procure or display maps depicting Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. The amendment was introduced by five Republican representatives — Tom Tiffany, Steve Chabot, Scott Perry, Kat Cammack and Mike Gallagher — and passed unanimously in a bundle with a dozen other amendments. “This is a common sense measure,” Tiffany said, speaking on the House floor on Wednesday. “As we all know, Taiwan has never been part of communist China. The Taiwanese people elect their
THE HOME TEAM: DPP Legislator Kao Chia-yu said she canceled her booking for an AstraZeneca shot as soon as she heard that the Medigen vaccine was an option President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that she would get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Taiwan-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗). Tsai wrote on Facebook that she had registered for her first vaccine dose using the national online COVID-19 vaccination booking system, which allows people to indicate their preferred vaccine brand and to make an appointment when the shot becomes available. Tsai said that she opted for the Medigen vaccine — one of three now available on the system, along with the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines — even though Medigen has yet to deliver any doses or provide a