TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following reports last week that Taiwan had applied to purchase a new fleet of fighter jets from the United States, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Monday, March 11 has clarified that it is willing to accept the recommendations of the U.S. government on which model of aircraft to purchase.
Taiwanese media initially reported last week that the MND put in a request to purchase 66 F-16V aircraft in a deal estimated at US$13 billion dollars.
On Monday, Deputy Minister of the MND, Shen Yi-Ming, confirmed to reporters that a letter of request had been submitted to the U.S. on Feb. 27, however, the request did not stipulate the model or number of fighter jets to be purchased.
Those aspects of the new fleet procurement will be left to the discretion and strategic advice of United States officials and defense specialists, reports Defense News.
Defense News observes that allowing the U.S. to advise on which fighters are purchased is “likely designed to ensure that any Taiwanese request for new fighter jets is not rejected like previous requests.”
Maj. Gen. Tang Hung-an, representing Taiwan’s Air Force Planning Division, was quoted by CNA as saying that Taiwan is “open to all fighter jet options.” However, it is widely assumed that the F-16V would be the model of choice for Taiwan’s Air Force.
Liberty Times reports that the purchase of the new fighter jets will be the first time Taiwan has procured new fighter aircraft from the U.S. in 27 years. Taiwan previously made a request for fighter jets in 2006, which was rejected by the U.S. government.