Amid Ongoing Tensions with China, Taiwan finalized a purchase of F-16 fighter jets from US aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Taiwan buys a US F-16 Fighter jet in a $62 billion, 10-year deal.
The self-ruled island, which China considers part of its territory, last year obtained the green light from Washington for the purchase of 66 new generation F-16s, which will allow it to modernise its defences. Taiwan already has a fleet of F-16s purchased in 1992.
The new contract, which the Pentagon said is for an initial delivery order of 90 jets, provides for more modern aircraft with the newest technology and weaponry. Washington, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, remains Taiwan’s most powerful ally and its main supplier of arms.
Despite the tensions between the Washington and Beijing, Taiwan buys a US F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lockheed contract comes as Beijing flexes its political muscle in Hong Kong, imposing a sweeping security law on the international business hub, a move that has caused concern in Taiwan.
It also comes two days after a visit to Taiwan by the highest-level US delegation since 1979,provoking fury from Beijing, with ties between the two superpowers severely strained over issues from trade to military and security issues, human rights and the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, ties with the U.S. have only frayed further, with the two nations in a series of disputes ranging from the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to 5G technology and Beijing’s tightening grip over Hong Kong. The U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea on Friday to conduct maritime air defense operations.
The new F-16s are being assembled at Lockheed’s new facility in Greenville, South Carolina, which opened in April 2019. The additional 90 F-16s would add to Lockheed’s current 38-aircraft backlog hence it is a good proposition that Taiwan buys a US F-16 Fighter Jet.