Taiwan F-16 Plan Progressing

The plan to upgrade aging Taiwanese F-16 fighters has cleared the 30-day congressional review, although the United States and Taiwan have not yet signed the formal letter of acceptance for the deal, reported Bloomberg. House Foreign Affairs Committee spokesman Brad Goehner told the news organization that the review period passed on Oct. 21 without opposition. Taiwan had originally requested 66 new F-16C/Ds to replace its aging F-5 fighters, but the Obama Administration decided at this time only to approve the retrofit of 145 Taiwanese F-16A/B aircraft, while keeping the request for the new F-16s as a potential future option. The retrofit package, which is worth up to $5.3 billion, includes items such as new advanced radars for the fighters, along with GPS-guided joint direct attack munitions and new targeting pods as well as training support. Mainland China has warned—big surprise here—that this arms transaction would negatively affect US-China relations.