The Taiwanese government will allocate NT$471.7 billion ($ 1.4 billion) to buy new fighters next year to strengthen the island’s defense capabilities amid increasing pressure from China. The government has not provided specific details about the fighters it plans to acquire, but there are speculations that the country is interested in F-16 fighters. This funding is part of the $ 16.8 billion defense budget for 2022 approved by the President of Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen Thursday cabinet. This is the country’s largest defense budget to date. The U.S. State Department approves sale of 66 F-16C/D Block 70 fighters to Taiwan, represented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) for an estimated cost of $8 billion.
Taiwan has requested to purchase: 66 F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft; 75 F110 General Electric Engines (includes 9 spares); 75 Link-16 Systems (includes 9 spares); 75 Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDG) (includes 9 spares); 75 APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars (includes 9 spares); 75 Modular Mission Computers 7000AH (includes 9 spares); 75 LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (includes 9 spares); 75 M61 Vulcan 20mm Guns (includes 9 spares); 138 LAU-129 Multipurpose Launchers; 6 FMU-139D/B Fuze for Guided Bombs; 6 FMU-139D/B Inert Fuze for Guided Bombs; 6 FMU 152 Fuze for Guided Bombs: 6 MK-82 Filled Inert Bombs for Guided Bombs and 3 KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tail Kits, GBU-38/54.
The F-16 Block 70 is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades. Taiwan currently operates the older F-16A/B variant. The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks (CFT), an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours. While the first of the new-build Block 70 F-16C/Ds are scheduled to arrive in 2023, in the meantime, the ROCAF’s upgraded F-16Vs (which it refers to as the F-16A/B Block 20 MLU) are set to play a vital role.
The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) has completed the first tranche of its F-16V Block 70/72 modernisation effort. Work on the project began in January 2017, with the first four aircraft being inducted into the upgrade programme at Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) Taichung facility in the northwest of Taiwan. The first tranche of F-16V upgrades comes two-and-a-half years after the first aircraft was delivered back to the RoCAF by Lockheed Martin’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) partners in October 2018. This milestone paves the way for the configuration to enter service with the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF), which plans to allocate these first aircraft to the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Chiayi in southwest Taiwan.