House Provision Would Require Selling Taiwan New F-16s

The House adopted language in the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill that would require the White House to sell Taiwan at least 66 new-build F-16s to help modernize its air force. “The President shall carry out the sale of no fewer than 66 F 16C/D multirole fighter aircraft to Taiwan,” states the provision, an amendment that Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.) introduced and the House approved as part of a block of bill add-ons on May 17. “This sale will ensure our key strategic ally in the Pacific has the defense capacity to defend its own airspace and their nation,” said Granger in a May 18 release. Lockheed Martin assembles the F-16 in Granger’s district. Taiwan last year secured US assistance in upgrading its 145 F-16A/Bs with new radar and weapons, but some members of Congress have expressed concern that the Obama Administration was not going far enough to support Taiwan. (See also China Visit.)