Friday, July 08, 2011

US defense cuts make F-16 sale more urgent

For reasons both strategic and financial, selling F-16s to Taiwan is a no-brainer, a lobby group argues

Amid announcements of defense cuts by US President Barack Obama’s administration and workforce reductions at Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-16 aircraft, the US government should take a fresh look at the impact of selling the fighter aircraft long sought by Taiwan, the US-Taiwan Business Council said on Wednesday.

Following news that the US defense budget could be cut by US$1.4 trillion over 12 years, Lockheed Martin on Sunday announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs across the country ahead of expected flattening demand from the US defense establishment.

In a press communique on Wednesday, the US-Taiwan Business Council called on Washington to consider the positive impact of selling the 66 F-16C/D aircraft requested by Taiwan since 2006.

News of the layoffs at Lockheed Martin, it wrote, “highlights the need for the US government to reassess its position on the sale and to consider the positive economic impact of releasing F-16s to Taiwan.”

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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