Most likely, the air force will either abandon some items included in the US package, or it will only upgrade a number of aircraft, with potential for a second round in future
The Executive Yuan is only giving the Ministry of National Defense US$3.7 billion for the upgrade of the nation’s ageing F-16 aircraft, a decision that could have serious implications for the air force’s ability to ensure air superiority in the Taiwan Strait, the Taipei Times has learned.
As a result of that decision, the ministry has told the air force that it cannot afford to spend US$5.1 billion on the upgrade package, notified to US Congress in September last year, for its 145 F-16A/Bs.
The Times was also informed that a decision has been made not to replace the aircraft’s F-100-PW-220 engines with F-100-PW-229, work that would have cost an estimated US$1.35 billion.
The air force is currently negotiating with US contractors and trying to determine whether to upgrade fewer aircraft or to limit the items included in the upgrades. Consensus on the best possible plan has yet to be reached.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.