Taiwan denies report on downgraded F-16s retrofit package
ROC Central News Agency
By Elaine Hou
Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force said Monday that it will seek to purchase an advanced radar system from the United States as part of a package to retrofit its aging F-16A/B fighter jets, denying a report that it would buy a downgraded system from Washington.
Last September, the U.S. agreed to help Taiwan upgrade its 145 F-16A/B fighter jets at an estimated cost of US$5.3 billion, or about NT$160 billion.
The Chinese-language United Daily News reported Monday that Taiwan's Air Force had to pay for the U.S. to downgrade the 176 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars that were included in the package.
The Air Force said in a statement, however, that it will make a request to the U.S. to purchase the same type of radar used by the U.S. military.
"There is no such thing as buying downgraded equipment," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Taipei will also continue to negotiate with Washington on lowering the costs in the package allocated to research and development, the statement said.
In the ongoing talks with the U.S. on details of the package, the Air Force will also ask that work on the retrofit project will be carried out jointly, hoping for a transfer of technological capabilities that will enhance Taiwan's defense industry.
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