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Taiwan likely buyer of 66 advanced F-16 jets

Lockheed Martin's sale of F-16 fighter planes would help meet Taiwan's need to defend itself from China

An F-16V

An F-16V (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the Pentagon's Friday (Aug. 14) announcement of 90 advanced F-16 fighter jet sales from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin, there are media reports that Taiwan was one of the buyers, finalizing a 10-year deal of US$62 billion for 66 jets.

The Pentagon did not disclose who the buyers were, citing the sensitive nature of the transaction. However, insiders confirmed to AFP and Bloomberg that Taiwan was one of them.

Bloomberg reported the $62 billion figure announced by the Pentagon as the upper limit of numerous sales contracts over the decade. The jet fighter contract with Taiwan was said to have been inked on Friday.

Last year, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of 66 F-16 C/D Block 70 fighter jets (F-16V) to Taiwan, with the aim of meeting the country's defense needs. The new sales will likely further inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

Morocco was said to be another buyer, of 24 new generation F-16 jets.