TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With the commissioning of its first F-16V combat wing scheduled for Thursday (Nov. 18), the Air Force says it is one of the top 15 in the world.
Air Force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) told the Legislative Yuan Wednesday (Nov. 17) that based on the more than 300 fighter jets it now operates, the country’s Air Force can count itself among the world’s 15 strongest, the Liberty Times reported.
Taiwan has been in the process of upgrading 141 F-16A/B jets to F-16V status, with 64 already completed, Vice Defense Minister Wang Hsin-lung (王信龍) told lawmakers. The first combat wing of the newly upgraded fighters will be officially commissioned at the Chiayi Air Force Base Thursday in the presence of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). In addition to the jets being upgraded, Taiwan has placed an order for 66 new F-16Vs.
Legislators called on the military to solve staffing shortages by giving fighter pilots pay increases and providing them with a positive working environment. The wage gap between civilian airline pilots and Air Force pilots should narrow, lawmakers said.