The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has not specified whether the weapons are intended for Taiwan’s RoCAF existing F-16A/B fleet or the newly acquired C/D fleet that is waiting for delivery from Lockheed Martin.
On Mar. 1, 2023 the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US of F-16 Munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $619 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale yesterday.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US (TECRO) has requested to buy one hundred (100) AGM-88B High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM); twenty-three (23) HARM training missiles; two hundred (200) AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); four (4) AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Guidance Sections; and twenty-six (26) LAU-129 multi-purpose launchers. Also included are LAU-118A missile launchers with Aircraft Launcher Interface Computer (ALIC); HARM missile containers; AIM-120 control sections and containers; AIM-120C Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); dummy air training missiles (DATM), integration and test support and equipment; munitions support and support equipment; spare parts, consumables and accessories and repair and return support; classified software; maintenance and maintenance support; classified publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, studies and surveys; and other related elements of logistical and program support.
As noted by Alert 5, the DSCA has not specified whether the weapons are intended for Taiwan’s Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) existing F-16A/B fleet or the newly acquired C/D fleet that is waiting for delivery from Lockheed Martin.
The principal contractors for the sale are Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Lockheed Martin Corporation. No US government or contractor representatives will need to be assigned for the implementation of the sale.
Taiwan is on track to field one of the largest F-16 fleets in Asia once it takes delivery of 66 new-build F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft under an $8 billion deal approved in 2019. It would bring the island’s total number of F-16s, including older versions, to more than 200 by 2026.
The RoCAF purchased the F-16C/D block 70 aircraft to counter the perceived threat from mainland China.
For this reason, Reuters reported last year that the US is looking for ways to potentially accelerate delivery of Taiwan’s next generation of new-build F-16 fighter jets. US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they have not yet come up with a solution on how to speed delivery of the aircraft.
A senior Taiwanese official said that Taiwan’s government has privately expressed its wish for a faster delivery to US President Joe Biden’s administration as the self-ruled island’s air force scrambles jets to intercept increasingly aggressive Chinese military flights.
More missions mean more wear-and-tear on Taiwan’s aircraft.
“It’s all about risk assessment … and it’s clear where the risks are,” the Taiwanese official said, referring to tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait separating the island from mainland China.
Photo credit: 總統府, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons