Taiwan mulls buying 60 US F-16 fighters

June 13th, 2006  

Topic: Taiwan mulls buying 60 US F-16 fighters

AIPEI (AFX) - Taiwan is considering buying 60 US-made F-16 fighter jets to upgrade its aging air force fleet and counter what it perceives as a growing military threat from China, the US-based weekly Defense News reported, citing a US defense source.

The acquisition of the advanced model F-16C/D Block 52 fighter jets will be discussed during talks in Washington on May 25-29 between the two countries, the report said.

Taiwan's air force consists of 146 less sophisticated F-16A/B fighters, 128 locally produced Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDFs), 56 French-made Mirage 2000-5s and 60 or so aging F-5 Tigers.

'Even if Taiwan decides to purchase the aircraft this year, Taiwan won't see the aircraft until 2011-2012 due to paperwork and production timeline. By that time, the IDFs will be close to 20 years old and the F-16A/Bs will be over 15 years old,' the source told the weekly.

Taiwan's defense ministry declined to comment on the report.


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