A military procurement announcement released on Friday shows the purchase of “air/surface” weapons bound for Taitung, likely for the newly purchased Block 70 F-16V jets still awaiting delivery.
The announcement shows a NT$17.22 billion (US$548.91 million) purchase agreement signed on Nov. 13 for “aircraft air/surface weapons,” to be delivered to the air force's Seventh Tactical Flight Wing stationed at the Taitung Air Force Base.
The sale is scheduled to take place over nine years, with delivery completed by Nov. 30, 2032.
Photo: screen grab from the US Air Force Web site
Considering the recipient, analysts believe they are likely air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles for the military’s 66 upgraded Block 70 F-16V jets awaiting delivery originally scheduled for completion in 2026.
Delivery of the first two jets was scheduled for this year, but was delayed to the third quarter of next year due to “complex developmental challenges.”
The Ministry of National Defense has not specified the type of missiles included in the latest procurement, and declined to comment on whether it could include the AGM-158 air-to-surface missiles long sought by the military for their long-range strike capabilities.
The ministry has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the AGM-158 missiles since 2014, as their range of 370km would provide cross-strait strike capabilities.
The US has likely been reticent to sell the missiles over concerns that the sale of long-range weapons could provoke Beijing, Institute for National Defense and Security Research research analyst Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said previously.
However, Taiwan has a good case to make that they could help counter the threat from China’s increasingly mature aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, he added.
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