Taiwan seeks US technical support for next-generation fighter

by Akhil Kadidal

Taiwan's next-generation fighter is almost certainly intended to become the primary air combat asset for the Republic of China Air Force. This is because the latest Lockheed-Martin F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft currently on order are believed to be an unequal match for Chinese fifth-generation aircraft in certain aspects. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

Taipei is seeking US technical assistance for its next-generation fighter aircraft project amid the Taiwan air force's declining combat strength.

Speaking at the 2023 Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum on 3 May, Kai-Hung Hu, the chairman of the Taiwanese aviation manufacturer Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) said that the company is seeking US assistance to enhance its technical capabilities.

The next-generation fighter aircraft project was first made public in 2017, according to Janes data. This aircraft is intended to provide Taiwan's Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) with fifth-generation technologies and features.

“When it comes to the development of the next-generation fighter, we hope the United States supports Taiwan to develop it itself, including the engine, avionics, control systems, environmental controls, and so on, which are all an opportunity for Taiwan-US co-operation,” Hu said at the forum.

Hu's comments suggest that Taiwan has encountered delays in the development of the powerplant and critical systems for the new aircraft. In April 2021, Art Chang, president of the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), told the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan's parliament) that an engine for the new aircraft was in the first stage of research and development. This first phase of engine development and the design of the aircraft are expected to be completed in 2024.


Taipei is seeking US technical assistance for its next-generation fighter aircraft project amid the ...

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