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Taiwan close to sealing F-16 A/Bs upgrade deal with U.S.

ROC Central News Agency

2012/07/05 21:46:01

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Taiwan will send back a proposal by the United States to overhaul the country's aging F-16 A/B jet fighters to seal the arms sales deal by the end of next week, Taiwan's military said Thursday.

The Ministry of National Defense has recently completed its review of the letter detailing a retrofit package for Taiwan's 145 F-16A/B fighters, and will send back a reply to the U.S. by mid-July, the military told CNA.

The proposal, which was sent to Taipei by Washington in early May, contained listed prices totaling some US$3.8 billion that were in line with the budget approved by Taiwan's Cabinet, military officials said.

Included in the retrofit of Taiwan's A/B fighters is the installation of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Equipping the fighters with AESA radar is a new initiative, officials said.

Other items on the list include AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kits, according to the officials.

The letter came after the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama last September approved the sale of a retrofit and training package for the F-16 A/Bs worth an estimated US$5.85 billion instead of offering Taiwan the F-16 C/D fighters it had long wanted.

Taiwan and the U.S. held several rounds of discussions on the island's defense budget and warfare needs before the U.S. sent the proposal of the arms sales.

The new proposal's budget was lower than the estimated cost of the original package because Taiwan determined that "it does not need some of the items originally listed," the military said.

(By Elaine Hou)

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