According to Taiwan’s media reports, the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) submitted a request to buy 66 F-16V jets from the United States for a total price of US$13 billion.
F-16V, Lockheed Martin’s most advanced F-16 version, will feature a new active electronically scanned array radar, a modular mission computer, electronic warfare suite, automated ground collision avoidance system, and a helmet-mounted cueing system which will simplify the pilot’s task to fire off AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles.
According to Apple Daily, Taiwan Ministry of National Defense officially handed its application for the fighter jets on February 27.
The package not only included the aircraft themselves, but also the training of their pilots, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and two years of “after-sales care,” the newspaper said.
The unconfirmed report came amid concern about China’s military build-up, including a raise of more than 7 percent in its annual defense budget and the recent stationing of strategic bombers just 450 kilometers from Taiwan.
Images from civilian satellite company ImageSat International show four Xian H-6 Chinese strategic bombers in Xingning Airbase, for the first time in few years.
The official Twitter account of ImageSat alleged that “The bombers are deployed 450 km (280 miles) from Taiwan coasts.”