Taiwan signs deal with US for 66 F-16 jets while tensions with China ride high

WolfPack86

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Washington: Taiwan formally signed an agreement to buy 66 of the latest model F-16 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp., a move likely to further inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.


Taiwan’s purchase of the F-16s marks the first sale of advanced fighter jets to the island since President George H.W. Bush announced approval for 150 F-16s in 1992. A $62 billion figure announced by the Pentagon on Friday is the upper limit of numerous contracts if all potential foreign customers placed their maximum desired number over the decade.


The move is likely to be denounced by Beijing, even though the U.S. first signaled its plans to approve the sale a year ago in an informal notification to Congress and it could still be years before the jets are delivered.


The announcement said that work on the 90 jets potentially to be sold under Friday’s announcement would be complete by late 2026.


Company officials have previously said they project a market for as many as 400 of the new F-16s.


When the planned sale was announced in August last year, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry told reporters that “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”


The spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said at the time that her government was urging the U.S. to “refrain” from selling the “fighter jets to Taiwan and stop arms sales to, and military contact with, Taiwan. Otherwise, the Chinese side will surely make strong reactions, and the U.S. will have to bear all the consequences.”

Since then, ties with the U.S. have only frayed further, with the two nations in a series of disputes ranging from the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to 5G technology and Beijing’s tightening grip over Hong Kong. The Trump administration last month rejected China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, reversing a previous policy of not taking sides in such disputes. The U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea on Friday to conduct maritime air defense operations.


In addition to Taiwan, Morocco is buying 24 F-16s jets in the first tranche of 90 aircraft that the Pentagon said was valued at $4.9 billion. The Pentagon announcement didn’t name Taiwan or Morocco, but they have been identified in a previous statement and were confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the contract.


The new F-16s are being assembled at Lockheed’s new facility in Greenville, South Carolina, which opened in April 2019. The contracting mechanism used by the Pentagon “will facilitate faster contract awards and greater pricing clarity for our foreign military partners,” Brian Brackens, an Air Force spokesman, said in a statement to Bloomberg News before the contract announcement.


“Taiwan and Morocco are expected to be the first two partner nations that will utilize this contract,” Brackens said.


The Taiwan F-16s will be equipped with a top-line fire control radar made by Northrop Grumman Corp. Called the APG-83, it would allow precision-guided munitions to be fired at greater distances, said an official familiar with the details.


Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Possenriede told analysts on a July 21 earnings call that the company was anticipating a “quite large” F-16 order “that should get announced sometime this quarter” in which “the marquee customer is Taiwan.”


The additional 90 F-16s would add to Lockheed’s current 38-aircraft backlog.-Bloomberg
 

Sarjen

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US should have given F16 from its arsenal till the new jets arrive. Tension are way to high in the straight
 

Historian

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I wonder if Taiwan would have been better-off buying the F-35. Is the F-35 too expensive? Taiwan has a local supply chain for F-16 spare parts so that's something to consider.
 

Lancer

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Specs wise - how do these F-16's match up against China's best fighters?
 

Historian

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The latest F-16s are probably inferior to the J-20 and, in the arena of air-to-air combat, on par with China's other top fighter planes. However, the Taiwanese planes would be fighting over home territory with all the benefits that brings in terms of time-on-station, ground-based radar, and surface-to-air missiles.

Taiwan's defense strategy is not to defeat China but to 1) hold out until the United States comes to their aid, or 2) make any invasion very painful and costly for China, such that they perpetually delay the invasion until their military gets stronger. As long as China thinks an invasion will be more viable a few years in the future and not now, Taiwan will be safe.
 

Flying Dagger

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Taiwan is full of Chinese spies just like Singapore.
True and One of the reason USA is skeptical of giving them F-35s.

The latest F-16s are probably inferior to the J-20 and, in the arena of air-to-air combat, on par with China's other top fighter planes. However, the Taiwanese planes would be fighting over home territory with all the benefits that brings in terms of time-on-station, ground-based radar, and surface-to-air missiles.

Taiwan's defense strategy is not to defeat China but to 1) hold out until the United States comes to their aid, or 2) make any invasion very painful and costly for China, such that they perpetually delay the invasion until their military gets stronger. As long as China thinks an invasion will be more viable a few years in the future and not now, Taiwan will be safe.
Taiwan existence is a thin thread of time unless PRC gets broken into several pieces they will eventually takeover Taiwan.
 

Kumata

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Spies is not a problem , but Taiwan been taken by China is a big possiblity

If China takes Taiwan, F35 will have no secret.
Don't worry.. Chinese balls are not developed enough to march toward taiwan. All they can do is spread propaganda , bully the small nations, flew few fighters here and there who regularly get radar locks on them and .....few videos of chinese army flying their drones and killing their own soldiers..

On the contrary CCP should do a self assessment on their own behavior and responsibility towards wider humanity and how they have let whole world down in their greed!!!!!!!!!
 

HKedifier

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Don't worry.. Chinese balls are not developed enough to march toward taiwan. All they can do is spread propaganda , bully the small nations, flew few fighters here and there who regularly get radar locks on them and .....few videos of chinese army flying their drones and killing their own soldiers..

On the contrary CCP should do a self assessment on their own behavior and responsibility towards wider humanity and how they have let whole world down in their greed!!!!!!!!!
Taiwan always Chinese territory , it never been a dependent country in history.

And Taiwan itself also claim One China policy , it acknowledge there is only one China in the world ,both public of China and people's republic of China is part of China.
 

Kumata

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Taiwan always Chinese territory , it never been a dependent country in history.

And Taiwan itself also claim One China policy , it acknowledge there is only one China in the world ,both public of China and people's republic of China is part of China.
See your sense of history is pretty evident from your post. It would be a futile attempt to tell you more of it.

Fact - Taiwan was always a independent island / nation & is the place where real chinese / Han people lived and prospered.... Taiwan claims itself to be the real china unlike mainland china which is ruled by CCP, again a island of bunch of thugs started by mixed breed people and product of Mao who forced people to eat pigeons and is responsible for the weirds eating habit of china.

So who is real china.. CCP china or Taiwan.. the day u get this answer with facts.. do come on forum and tell us with evidence .
 

scatterStorm

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Taiwan always Chinese territory , it never been a dependent country in history.

And Taiwan itself also claim One China policy , it acknowledge there is only one China in the world ,both public of China and people's republic of China is part of China.
I disagree. Read your own history first properly, so that not someone else would have to enlighten your ignorance. When China fought a civil war, the socialist side defeated the democratic side. The democratic side fled to an Island and later found Taiwan.

They were thrown out of the mainland to take refuge of being exiled by your great leaders. Taiwan since then became an independent sovereign nation recognized by all international community.

Taiwan doesn't support one china policy, it never has. It simply say to your great leaders to stick to your mainland and don't intervene into there internal matters.

Why they are buying F16s now? For there own pleasure? For Chinese upcoming invasion of Taiwan.

Like the Nazis, China will fall. History will repeat itself.
 

VelociRaptor

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