The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) is to increase the budget to upgrade the air force’s F-16 warplane fleet to boost the number and types of air-to-air missiles the aircraft can carry.
The budget is set to go up from NT$129.6 billion to NT$140.2 billion (US$4.21 million to US$4.56 million), a high-ranking defense official said yesterday according to a report in Taipei Times.
Better missiles are necessary to maintain parity between the upgraded F-16s and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s tactical fighters, the official said.
Details of the missile portion of the budget would be disclosed to lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee when the Legislative Yuan reviews the national defense budget for fiscal 2019, the official said.
The US government has agreed to supply the armaments and equipment identified in the budget, while an earlier scheme for F-16V performance improvement packages, which is to be completed by 2023, is to be followed as planned, the official said.
Taiwan’s plan to add more firepower to its F-16 fleet comes amidst increased air patrols by China and the threat of an invasion of the Island which Beijing claims as it own territory.
China has boosted its air force with several types of fighter jets including a stealth fighter but its performance is yet to be tested in actual combat.
Chinas air force has announced that its J-16 fighter jet, developed to 'target Taiwan,' will be combat ready soon. The air force said a squadron of J-16s – described as 4
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Chinas Su-35 fighter jets along with H-6K bombers participated in Bashi Channel patrol in combat training and testing toprovide a deterrence to ‘Taiwan independence forces, a Chinese military expert said. "The island patrol revealed that China's Su-35 fighter jets are combat-ready
American test pilots have reached Taiwan to carry out ground tests on four Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-16 fighter jets upgraded to the V-model. Taiwan is expecting delivery of the first batch of short-range air-to-air missiles, the AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder from US next year
The first upgraded F-16 fighter jet, known as the F-16 Viper or F-16V, has been delivered to the Taiwan Air Force by state-owned aviation firm Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC)
Lockheed Martin has offered to manufacture in its proposed Indian facility, over 400 new F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft and upgrade some 400 more jets for its international customers. However, its setting up a manufacturing plant will be conditional to it getting an Indian MoD contract to manufacture over 100 aircraft for the Indian Air Force
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