The Taiwanese Military has said it plans to acquire the F-35 stealth fighter to maintain air superiority over China as the F-16V it has approved to buy from the US would be a match for the Chinese J-20 stealth jets.
The plan to acquire F-35s was revealed jet during a legislature hearing which approved a draft bill seeking NT$250 billion (US$8.05 billion) in funding to buy 66 F-16V aircraft.
At the hearing of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa said, “according to the military’s projected threat assessment, we will need F-35s in the future.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Liu Jen-yuan said the F-16V is a 4.5-generation fighter, due to the detection capabilities of its active electronically scanned array radar and infrared search and track systems. The (Chinese) J-20’s only advantage is marginally better stealth ability. However, modern air combat is fought between integrated systems, not individual platforms,” Liu said.
Deputies asked officials to explain if the F-16V could prevail against a J-20 in a one-on-one engagement. “I have absolute confidence in the skills of our pilots to shoot down a J-20 one-on-one,” Yen said.
The bill will now be sent to a cross-caucus negotiation following which Taipei and Washington will have to sign a letter of offer and acceptance to finalize the sale, expected by end-2019, Taipei Times reported quoting air force sources.
Taiwan hopes to take delivery of all 66 jets by no later than 2026. The F-16Vs are expected to be deployed at Chihhang Air Base in Taitung County, military sources said.
In addition, the Taiwan air force is upgrading its fleet of 142 F-16A/Bs to the F-16V specifications, with the work expected to be completed by 2022. The first four of the planes, retrofitted by state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, have completed combat flight testing.
A first-ever Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercise is to be held in Taiwan in November involving 15 nations from the Americas, Asia and Europe. Taiwanese Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai who is also head of the Cabinet department for information security, said Sunday that the exercise was planned in the wake of increasing cyber attacks targeting the Taiwan government
Taiwan released a blow-by-blow strategy to “repel Chinese forces” in its latest National Defense Report, a few days after China conducted joint land assault exercises off its eastern coast, close to the island nation. The report, released Wednesday, is the first to be made public after President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016
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
Taiwan rolled out “Brave Eagle,” the first indigenously produced Advanced Jet Trainer at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp factory in Taichungs Salu District yesterday. The Ministry of National Defense has named the jet trainer as the AIDC T-5 Yung Ying (“Brave Eagle”)
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