Taiwan Air Force will lose advantage in 2027 without F-16V jets

Legislative Yuan is moving necessary regulations to committee level for review

A Taiwan Air Force F-16 landing on a highway in 2014.

A Taiwan Air Force F-16 landing on a highway in 2014. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan needs the 66 F-16V jets it has ordered from the United States as soon as possible as its present fighters will lose their advantage in 2027, the Air Force said Friday (September 20).

The U.S. Department of State approved the US$8 billion (NT$250 billion) deal last month. At present, Taiwan relies on a previous generation of F-16 jets, French-built Mirage 2000 planes, and Indigenous Defense Fighters.

However, those jets will lose the advantage over the rapidly modernizing Chinese forces in 2027, the Liberty Times reported Friday.

It was essential for Taiwan to acquire the most effective aircraft at the lowest possible price as soon as possible in order to maintain the balance of power in the air, military officials said.

The legal regulations necessary to pass the sale of the F-16V or “Viper” jets at the Legislative Yuan received the go-ahead Friday for a review by the relevant committees, according to the Liberty Times.

The manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has claimed the new aircraft, which are officially known as F-16C/D Block 70, can serve until at least the year 2070.