Taiwan seals the deal for advanced F-16 fighters with U.S.
TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taipei has signed a U.S. arms deal for 66 F-16V fighters while upgrading older models to F-16V standard earlier in December, Taiwan's state run Central News Agency reports on Saturday.
According to Lockheed Martin, the F-16V is the latest variant of the F-16, a multirole fighter that features advanced weaponry, targeting systems, electronics, and radar.
Citing an unnamed military source, CNA reports that the F-16Vs have better weapons than the older generation J-11 fighters used by China's People's Liberation Army.
According to the source, the F-16V may not be a match for the PLA's J-20 stealth fighter, but Taiwanese jets could utilize friendly early warning aircraft to contain the threat.
Jane's Information Group reports that Lockheed Martin will establish an F-16 maintenance center in Taiwan with the locally owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation.
According to Jane's, the facility will provide maintenance and logistical support to Taiwan's F-16 fleet, in addition to refurbishing 140 F-16A/Bs[e] to F-16Vs.
The PLA deploys about 700 fighters in China's southeastern coast, which is double the size of Taiwan's tactical air arm.
CNA cites the source as saying that the combination of F-16Vs and air defense systems give Taiwan's military a needed boost to combat the PLA's superior numbers.
Citing associate professor Lin Ying- yu[f] at the National Chung Cheng University, the CNA reports that China's carriers are now a threat to Taiwan's eastern defensive perimeter.
CNA cites Lin as saying that the F-16Vs and anti-ship missiles will serve as a deterrent to Chinese carriers and aircraft operating in the seas east of Taiwan.