Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) inaugurated on 28 August a maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade (MRO&U) centre to support its expanding fleets of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft.
AIDC confirmed the facility – located at AIDC’s complex at Taichung – is positioned to provide MRO&U services for new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft reportedly recently ordered by Taiwan, as well as F-16A/B legacy models, which are currently being upgraded.
While support for locally operated F-16s is the new centre’s priority, AIDC is also hoping, in time, to secure MRO&U deals with regional F-16 operators such as Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
Taiwan’s AIDC has opened a facility to support the ROCAF’s fleets of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft. (Lockheed Martin/Randy A Crites)
AIDC aims to promote the facility as a cost-effective alternative to sourcing support services from the United States, although officials have conceded that political issues – and regional countries’ concerns about engagement with Taiwan – could hinder such aspirations.
In an inauguration ceremony, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the facility will “greatly reduce” the time required to maintain its F-16 aircraft, which, would enhance the readiness of Taiwan’s air combat capability and help maintain regional peace and stability.
Tsai also said the new facility is an “important milestone” in Taiwan’s efforts to develop local defence industrial capability. She said the facility would be supported by about 100 local suppliers.
Lockheed Martin told
that it was its understanding that Taiwan’s new maintenance centre is “envisioned to establish roles for Taiwan industry, led by AIDC and Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), to enhance and improve their ability to support and sustain the Taiwan F-16 fleet”.