Taiwan deploys upgraded combat F-16V jets as tensions with China grow
18:23, 18 November 2021
Photo: US Navy/Global Look Press
F-16V aircraft are advanced versions of US-made F-16 with developed systems, radars, and increased combat capabiities.
On Thursday Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen ordered to put into service 64 F-16V fighter jets, the island’s state-of-the-art version of US General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons.
During a ceremony held at an air force base in Chiayi, the President delivered a speech in front of hundreds of Taiwanese soldiers, as well as inspected the planes personally, and even took the pilot’s seat.
#Taiwan's first squadron of upgraded F-16V fighter jets has entered service. These aircraft symbolize our close cooperation with the US & are equipped with advanced technology that will substantially strengthen our national defense. pic.twitter.com/S2QV9pSkWN
She stressed that the military cooperation between Taiwan and the US was not only a sign of friendship but also a symbol of mutual commitment.
“This represents the steadfast promise of the Taiwan-US partnership. I believe that in holding to democratic values, there will definitely be more countries with similar values who will stand with us on this front,” the Head of State said.
Besides, pilots in F-16s demonstrated the planes’ capacities by performing complex maneuvers.
F-16V models are equipped with a sensitive radar capable of tracking more than 20 targets simultaneously, a modernized computer, new weapons and instruments including an ameliorated GPS, and a modern display. It also has a program aimed at avoiding collision with the ground and improved landing gear which gives better stability.
The thunderous boom of fighter jets echoed across a Taiwanese air base on the islandâs western coast. Taiwan has commissioned its first F-16V combat squadron, as the island upgrades its combat aviation hardware amid growing military threats from China. @JohnnyMees@EricCheungwcpic.twitter.com/iPrJ4XQIPr
The Taiwanese planes are considered to be the most sophisticated representatives of the fourth generation of planes but they are still outperformed by the fifth generation models like the American F-22, Russian Su-57, and Chinese J-20.
Apart from F-16 aircraft, Taiwan also possesses several dozen Dassault Mirage 2000 made in France and domestically-created AIDC F-CK Chingkuo jets. The island’s total air force reaches 400 planes while mainland China owns over 1,600 fighters.
Tensions between the PRC and US-backed Taiwan considerably aggravated in October after 38 Chinese planes had made an incursion into the island’s air defense zone.
The conflict has been fueled by the participation of the US which announced that it had been secretly training Taiwanese troops and promised to support Taiwan in case of China’s aggression.