Air Force to take delivery of first four F-16Vs in March
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) The Air Force is scheduled to take delivery of its first four upgraded F-16 fighter jets at the end of March next year, a military official said Wednesday during a legislative session.
Liu Jen-yuan (劉任遠), chief of staff of the Air Force, said at the Legislative Yuan Foreign and National Defense Committee session that the timeframe is based on the facts that training, manpower and technology transfer was lagging slightly behind and that rust was also found on the aircrafts.
The fighters are part of a NT$129.6 billion (US$4.21 billion) government program to launch a domestic upgrade that will transform Taiwan's 144 F-16 A/B jets into F-16Vs by 2023.
In order to carry out the upgrade locally, the manufacturer of the jets -- Lockheed Martin in the United States -- sent engineers to Taiwan last year to help train local personnel at the state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) on how to perform the upgrades.
According to the AIDC, the retrofit program includes installing advanced equipment in the fighters, including the AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, new mission computers, improvements to the aircraft's electronic warfare suite and avionics; and the integration of new precision-guided weapons.
(By Matt Yu and William Yen)
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