Taiwan’s planned procurement of 66 newbuild Lockheed Martin F-16V Fighting Falcon combat aircraft appears to have been activated with an engine contract announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 28 April.
The deal covers an unspecified number of General Electric F110-GE-129 increased performance engines for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, including Taiwan. While the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) already fields F-16C/D fighters, including a number that have already been upgraded to F-16V Block 70/72 standard in an ongoing modernisation plan, all are currently powered by Pratt & Whitney P100-PW-220 engines.
In August 2019 the US State Department cleared Taiwan to buy 66 of the latest F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft (the F-16C/D Block 70/72 is more commonly designated F-16V). This was followed in October 2019 by the President of the Republic of China, Tsai Ing-wen, tweeting that the country’s Legislative Yuan – one of the five branches of government – had approved funding for the 66 new F-16Vs “in a multi-partisan effort that reflects our collective will to defend our liberty and sovereignty”, although no contracts associated with the procurement had been announced to date.
As the most advanced iteration of the F-16 to date, the F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic-warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system.
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