F-35s Unlikely, Taiwan Upgrades F-16s Fighters to Counter China
Taiwan is upgrading a fleet of American-made fighter jets, but may scrap ambitions to acquire the more advanced F-35 models, showing the limits of U.S.-Taiwan military cooperation despite a common interest of resisting China. The Air Force should get its first four upgraded F-16 A/B fighter jets in early 2019. The upgrades are part of a broader overhaul that began a year ago to convert the planes into the equivalent of higher-end F-16Vs, the government-funded Central News Agency said. But the Taiwanese armed forces, ranked as the world’s 24th strongest, probably won’t get F-35 planes from the American developer Lockheed Martin despite expressions of interest in the past, defense analysts say. Taiwan would then rely in any war with China, a military rival of some 70 years, on tactical advantages rather than trying to match its firepower. “One main thing I think that Taiwan has sort of come to the realization that the talk of F-35s is more likely to be a long-ranging solution, more so than being able to get them on an immediate basis, so they have been toying around with various other options,” said Collin Koh, a maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. China claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its own territory. Last week Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated in a speech that his government could use force against the island 160 kilometers away if needed to force unification of the two sides. China maintains the third strongest military after the United States and Russia. F-35 advantage Taiwan needs better aircraft to replace the French-designed Mirage 2000 jets that it has used for about 25 years, said Andrew Yang, former defense minister and secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies think tank. Taiwan’s defense ministry technically has not ruled out... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, F-35s Unlikely, Taiwan Upgrades F-16s Fighters to Counter China, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Friday, 11 January
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