TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will inaugurate the Asia Pacific's first F-16 maintenance and repair center in Taichung on Aug. 28.
The facility is the result of an agreement between Taiwan’s state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC, 漢翔) and F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin last December. The island nation’s Air Force has 142 F-16 fighter jets being upgraded, and it has bought 66 more advanced F-16 “Vipers” from the U.S. to supplement them.
The largest operator of F-16s in the region, Taiwan hopes the maintenance center can attract business from other air forces, the Liberty Times reported Saturday (Aug. 22).
South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia own between 33 and 180 F-16 jets each, and India might eventually become a Lockheed Martin customer. The lower cost of maintenance and repair work in Taiwan compared to the U.S. was a key factor in the decision to set up the center, according to the report.
A total of 109 Taiwanese companies have shown interest in forming an alliance with AIDC to participate in the maintenance business, as the center is expected to generate considerable returns.