Taiwan, Chiayi (AP) —Taiwan has deployed a state-of-the-art version of the F-16 fighter to the Air Force. The autonomous islands claim to be strengthening their defense capabilities in the face of ongoing threats from China. Part of that territory.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen commissioned 64 upgraded F-16V fighters to be put into service at Chiayi’s air force base on Thursday. The aircraft is part of Taiwan’s total of 141 F-16 A / B jets, an older model from the 1990s, and will be fully refurbished by the end of 2023.
Tsai said the upgrade project demonstrates Taiwan’s strong cooperation with the US defense industry. It’s time for the island’s status to become a major tension in US-China relations.
Beijing is increasing its threat by regularly dispatching fighters to Taiwan’s buffer zone southwest of the island, along with long-range missions to the western Pacific Ocean.
China is also increasing its rhetoric, and President Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden at this week’s virtual summit that disputing China’s claim to the island is equivalent to playing with fire.
China and Taiwan split during the 1949 civil war, and Beijing has not ruled out its power to reunify with the island.
The US “One China” policy recognizes Beijing as the Chinese government, but recognizes informal and defensive relations with Taipei.
“This represents a firm commitment to a partnership between Taiwan and the United States,” Tsai said. “I believe that adhering to democratic values will undoubtedly increase the number of countries with similar values that stand with us in this regard.”
The F-16V is the most technically advanced version of the renowned multirole fighter with sophisticated radar, capable of tracking more than 20 targets at one time. It also has a state-of-the-art electronic warfare system, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and a system that automatically avoids collisions with the ground.
The plane is the most advanced of the 4th generation fighters, but still below the latest 5th generation such as the US F-22 and F-35, the Russian Su-57 and the Chinese J-20. increase. Taiwan supported the idea of buying a fifth-generation aircraft from the United States, but in the current situation, an F-16 upgrade was decided to be the most effective means.
The Taiwan Air Force also operates the French Dassault Mirage 2000, with a total of approximately 400 AIDC F-CK Cinqueo fighters designed and manufactured domestically.
In contrast, China operates about 1,600 fighters, about half of which are based in theaters in the eastern and southern regions adjacent to Taiwan, with about 450 bombers. China’s superiority in both quality and quantity of fighters is expected to favor the military balance of the Taiwan Strait, regardless of US military involvement.
Kitsch Liao, a military and cyber issues consultant at Double Think Lab, a disinformation organization, said Taiwan is Asia’s largest F-16 with an upgrade and planned delivery of the 66 new F-16V in 2023. He said he would be an operator. This means that the island needs to invest in a jet repair center to improve its readiness, Liao said. Previously, Taiwan had to send jets to other countries for repairs.
In Chiayi, an F-16 pilot performed a complex maneuver on Thursday, flying low in the sky.
Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the US Embassy in Taiwan, also attended.
Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan.