Taiwan's newly ordered $8 billion-worth 66 F-16V fighters are of downgraded standards and may not include ammunition and other accessories, Taiwanese media have claimed.
The island nation has agreed to pay about $110-120 million per jet, way less than net price of "weaponised" Bulgarian F-16. The Balkan country will acquire each jet at around $200 million a piece, taking the total value of the contract of 8 fighters to $1.67 billion.
"So what Taiwan gets may only be 'shells' of fighters that are not combat-ready. The Lockheed jets could be of 'simplified specifications'," United Daily News report said.
The report added that the overall cost of the contract could be way higher than the amount officially budgeted and negotiated with the US suppliers. Taiwan may purchase parts and accessories from the US in a "separate, piecemeal manner" to minimize criticisms of splurging taxpayers’ money.
In response, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry stressed that weapons and missiles for the existing fleet of F-16s would be compatible with the new F-16Vs that features AESA radar systems, data links and advanced avionics.
The ministry added that that other than the 66 fighters, the deal would include 75 GE Aviation F110 engines, data links, 75 Northrop Grumman APG-83 AESA radars and electronic warfare suites, and other equipment, training, and services related to such a large purchase.