First F-16V jet arrives at air base in central Taiwan

The first batch of four upgraded F-16 jets will be commissioned within six months, and modernization of the remaining fleet of 139 jets will complete before 2022 

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The image of flying F-16V captured by Taiwanese photographer Chiang Kuan-lun (蔣冠倫) on Oct. 19, 2018. (Image courtesy of Chiang Kuan-lun)

The image of flying F-16V captured by Taiwanese photographer Chiang Kuan-lun (蔣冠倫) on Oct. 19, 2018. (Image courtesy of Chiang Kuan-lun)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The first upgraded F-16 fighter jet, known as F-16 Viper or F-16V, arrived in Chiayi Air Base Friday afternoon after undergoing extensive aerial tests in the U.S. and Taiwan, according to Liberty Time report. 

The first batch of four F-16V fighter jets will be commissioned within six months to be stationed in Chiayi and Hualien bases. The enhancements over the remaining fleet of 139 fighter jets are scheduled to complete before 2022. 

F-16V, Lockheed Martin's most advanced F-16 version, will feature a new active electronically scanned array radar, a modular mission computer, electronic warfare suite, automated ground collision avoidance system, and a helmet-mounted cueing system which will simplify the pilot's task to fire off AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, reports said.

The modernization project is said to cost more than NT$129.6 billion (US$4.19 billion), and is jointly conducted by Lockheed Martin and Taiwan's state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC). The modernization is expected to give the island country's air force a huge boost to its capability in countering its Chinese rival's J-20 stealth fighter jets.