F-16 A/B upgrade budget to be spread over 12 years: MND
ROC Central News Agency
By Nancy Liu
Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) The budget for a newly approved retrofit of Taiwan's F-16 A/B fighter jet fleet will be spread over the next 12 years, The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Thursday.
No special funds will be allocated for the upgrade project, a senior MND official said one day after the U.S. agreed to a US$5.85 billion arms that includes a retrofit of Taiwan's aging F-16 A/B fleet.
The ministry will work to shorten the budget's 12-year timeframe, and negotiations will be held with the U.S. on the matter, said Cheang Yun-pung, director-general of the MND's Strategic Department.
At a press conference convened by the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) legislative caucus, Cheang emphasized the need to retrofit the existing 145 F-16 A/B fighter jets, which have been in service for 15 years.
He refuted the criticism from some quarters the upgrade plan is nothing but a short-term band-aid solution, saying that it is normal for aircraft to be retrofitted at different stages.
Meanwhile, KMT legislator Lin Yu-fang, who is a member of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee, said that the retrofit package was beyond what he had anticipated.
The key elements of the package, which include the advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and AIM-9X air-to-air missile, will greatly improve Taiwan's air force capability, he said.
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