Taiwan might have to wait a long time for its F-16V jets: reports

Lockheed Martin is relocating factory from Texas to South Carolina

The F-16V fighter jet (image courtesy of Lockheed Martin).

The F-16V fighter jet (image courtesy of Lockheed Martin).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Even though Trump Administration officials have reportedly agreed to Taiwan’s request to buy 66 F-16V jets, the country might have to wait longer than expected for their delivery due to the move of a factory, reports said Friday.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that Taiwan had filed a request with Washington to buy the Viper fighter jets for an estimated US$13 billion (NT$400 billion).

Even with the approval of the Trump Administration, the process still involved consideration by the Pentagon and by the State Department, followed by a 30-day evaluation period for Congress.

Once a contract is signed with manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the jets would still take some time before being produced and delivered as the company was shifting its production plant from Fort Worth, Texas, to Greenville, South Carolina, the Central News Agency reported.

Production of the jet would not be able to start before 2021, and even then, Bahrain would become the first new customer for the F-16V ahead of Taiwan, according to the report.

Taiwan’s Air Force disposes of a total of 326 fighter jets, including F-16 A/Bs now undergoing upgrades to Viper status, French-built Mirage 2000, and local Indigenous Defense Fighters.