TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese F-16 fighters have reportedly been spotted in Hawaii making their way back to the nation after being upgraded to the Block 70 variant.
An Instagram aviation aficionado, Aeros808, posted a photo on Thursday (May 13) showing two F-16s taking off at Daniel. K. Inoue International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii. One of the aircraft displayed the serial number 6621, which is a Taiwanese military number, and the other displayed the serial number 93-708, which is an American number, Liberty Times reported.
It is expected that the pair of fighter jets will make a pit stop in Guam before flying back to Taiwan, based on the previous delivery process.
According to internal sources from the military, a number of F-16 fighters are in the U.S. being retrofitted and will fly back to Taiwan in batches with the cooperation of Taiwanese and American pilots. The fighter jets will then be handed over to Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation for scheduled performance trials.
The details of this revelation have yet to be confirmed by the military, but due to the sensitive issue of Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation, relevant military departments may not disclose any information.
Taiwan purchased 150 F-16 fighters from the U.S. in 1992. The U.S. delivered them in batches, with the first group arriving in April 1997.
The first two fighters from that purchase took off from Fort Worth, Texas, and after 19 aerial refuelings, as well as layovers in Hawaii and Guam, they finally arrived at Chiayi Air Force Base 22 hours later.