Taiwan's new F-16s to be equipped with advanced electronic warfare system

ALQ-256 system can directly interfere with enemy radars, render weapons useless

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An F-16 fighter jet

An F-16 fighter jet (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The decision to equip Taiwan’s recently purchased F-16V fighters with an advanced electronic warfare system was finalized a few days ago.

All of Taiwan's F-16 C/D block 70 (Viper) fighters will be equipped with the L3 Harris ALQ-256 electric warfare system, CNA reported. The U.S. previously agreed to sell Taiwan 66 F-16 fighters last August to boost the island nation’s air defense capabilities amid an increasing Chinese threat.

Military expert Mei Fu-hsing (梅復興) on Tuesday (June 16) pointed out on Facebook that in recent years, Taiwan has often been a “trail-blazing pioneer” in terms of military technology selection and utilization — and sometimes even ahead of the U.S. For instance, Taiwan selected the ALQ-256 system before the U.S. Air Force decided which system to use, Mei stated.

According to Up Media, those familiar with the matter said the ALQ-256 is an upgraded version of the AN/ALQ-211 A(V)4 system. In addition to a reduction in size and weight, this new system has improved navigation, tracking and calibration, electronic countermeasures, and other functions.

It can directly interfere with enemy radars and render weapons uncontrollable. After more precision testing, the system can later be integrated with the AN/APG-83 AESA radar, which F-16Vs are already fitted with.

Mei said that after selecting the ALQ-256 system for its F-16s, Taiwan has officially been involved in the technological and follow-up development of three major U.S. aerial electronic warfare systems.