Taiwan working on minimize damage due to delayed deliveries of F-16

Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng announced on Thursday that the delivery of 66 sophisticated new F-16Vs from the United States has been delayed owing to supply chain delays and that the ministry is striving to minimize the damage and "makeup deficiencies." The US approved an $8 billion sale of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan in 2019, increasing the island's F-16 fleet to more than 200 jets, the largest in Asia, in order to strengthen its defenses in the face of a stepped-up threat from China, which claims Taiwan as its own.

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Taiwan has converted 141 F-16A/B jets into F-16Vs and ordered 66 additional F-16Vs with upgraded avionics, weaponry, and radar systems to better compete with China's air force, particularly its J-20 stealth fighter. The first of the new F-16Vs was supposed to arrive in the fourth quarter of this year, but it has been pushed back to the third quarter of next year owing to pandemic-related supply chain problems, according to the ministry. Chiu told reporters in parliament that Taiwan had asked the US to "make up the deficit," including prioritizing spare part delivery for the existing fleet.

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"Multiple channels are being used, and we are minimizing the damage from this," he added, adding that the complete order was still scheduled to be fulfilled before 2026. Chiu stated that the ministry is resolving the issue through diplomatic channels, such as the de facto US embassy in Taipei. The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy, did not respond to a request for comment. Lockheed Martin stated that it has a long history of cooperation with Taiwan, helping its national defense, interoperability with the US, and regional security. Further inquiries about Taiwan's foreign military sales should be referred to the US government and the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense, according to the business.


Taiwan has complained about delays in US weapons delivery, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, since last year, as manufacturers divert supplies to Ukraine as it fights to invade Russian soldiers, and the issue has disturbed US politicians. During a visit to Taipei last month, Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated that he was doing all necessary to expedite arms deliveries.

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