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US approves sustainment package for Taiwan F-16s

Since taking office in 2021, the Biden administration has proposed at least five Foreign Military Sales connected to Taiwan's Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet. These sales were aimed at sustaining, enhancing, and arming the F-16s. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

The US Department of State has approved a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of parts and related equipment for Taiwan's Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft force.

The possible sale, which was notified to the US Congress on 5 June, covers two packages: the first, covering USD220 million worth of “standard” spares, repair parts, and related equipment; and the second, worth USD80 million, covers “non-standard” spares, repair parts, and related equipment, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

According to the president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the term ‘standard' relates to sustainment for the original F-16 programme of record from the 1990s. This definition is drawn from the US Air Force's supply system, he said.

“The term ‘non-standard' refers to supplies drawn directly from the original manufacturer,” he added. “In the latter case, this support relates to F-16 systems that were added after the original aircraft were bought and deployed and does not fall under the original F-16 programme.”

The proposed sale is “expected to take effect in one month”, the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 6 June.

The announcement of the possible sale was made in response to a request by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), according to DSCA.

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