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Taiwan anticipates new F-16 Block 70 boost to RoCAF operations

23 August 2019
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Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced in a 21 August statement that it is “grateful” for the US government’s decision to approve the sale of new-build Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 70 multirole combat aircraft, noting that the new jets will enhance the Republic of China Air Force’s (RoCAF’s) ability to secure the country’s airspace over the Taiwan Strait.

The US State Department has announced its approval for the sale of 66 newbuild Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 combat aircraft to Taiwan. The company exhibited a model of its F-16V in Republic of China Air Force livery at the recently concluded TADTE 2019 exhibition in Taipei, just before the announcement. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)The US State Department has announced its approval for the sale of 66 newbuild Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 combat aircraft to Taiwan. The company exhibited a model of its F-16V in Republic of China Air Force livery at the recently concluded TADTE 2019 exhibition in Taipei, just before the announcement. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)

“The [approval] demonstrates the importance the United States attaches to Taiwan’s national defence and helps to jointly safeguard the security of the Taiwan Strait and the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” the MND stated.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 20 August that the State Department has approved Taiwan’s request – worth an estimated USD8 billion – via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism and has notified Congress of its decision. Congress is widely expected to approve the proposed deal, given widespread bipartisan support.

According to the DSCA, the proposed FMS package includes 66 F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft and associated equipment with spares and support services. This includes 75 General Electric F110 fighter engines, 75 Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radars, 75 Link 16 datalink systems, as well as aircraft self-defence systems including 75 L3Harris AN/ALQ-211 A(V)4 Airborne Integrated Defense Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS), 75 BAE Systems AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispensers, and 120 Raytheon ALE-50 towed decoys.

Other equipment included in the sale include 75 General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) M61 20 mm Vulcan cannons, precision-guidance kits and fuzes for air-to-ground munitions, mission computers, missile rail launchers, helmet mounted displays, and other ancillary systems and expendables.

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