Tag Archive: national security

The Trump Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of State to announce its approval of seven possible Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan, with a total value of US$1.363 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certifications notifying Congress of the proposed Taiwan arms sales on June 29, 2017. A direct commercial sale was also notified, bringing the total to approximately US$1.4 billion.

The published FMS Congressional Notifications (transmittal numbers 16-67, 16-68, 16-69, 16-70, 16-73, 16-74, and 16-75) were for SM-2 Block IIIA All-Up Rounds, associated equipment and technical support (US$125 million); MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo Conversion Kits, spare parts and other support and assistance (US$175 million); MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedoes, other support, spare parts, training, and assistance (US$250 million); Hardware, software, and other upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare Systems supporting Taiwan’s KEELUNG Class destroyers (US$80 million); AGM-154C JSOW Air-to-Ground Missiles, spare/repair parts and other support and assistance (US$185.5 million); AGM-88B HARMs and Training HARMs, spare/repair parts, testing, and other support and assistance (US$147.5 million); SRP Operations and Maintenance follow-on sustainment (US$400 million).

The US-Taiwan Business Council welcomes these Congressional notifications in adherence to the Taiwan Relations Act, which obligates the U.S. to help enable Taiwan’s self-defense. However, it has been 562 days since the last arms sale to Taiwan in late 2015. The Council questions the impact that delays in consideration and execution of Taiwan arms requests are having on the island’s ability to maintain its self-defense capabilities.

Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers noted that “support for Taiwan remains an essential aspect of the U.S. national security posture in Asia, particularly as increased cross-Strait tensions would fundamentally threaten stability in the region. The U.S. is legally and historically committed to providing Taiwan with arms of sufficient quantity and quality to provide for its own self-defense. Arms sales have long been a mainstay of U.S. security relations with the island, supporting U.S. efforts to deter coercion from the PRC and help provide for Taiwan’s self-determination.

Hammond-Chambers added “The Council supports the return to a normal and regular process for assessing all Taiwan arms sales requests and sales. Packaging several years’ worth of items drives up the overall dollar value of each tranche of notifications. Each Taiwan arms sale also becomes a rare and compelling event, drawing significantly more attention than it might otherwise garner. This creates a more substantial opportunity for Chinese protests and posturing in response to each sale, protests that have had a deterrent effect on U.S. willingness to release needed but advanced systems to Taiwan – such as new-build fighters and submarines. It would be in the U.S. interest to provide less of an impetus for Chinese protests in response to Taiwan arms sales, and moving away from packaging would be a substantial step in the right direction.

The Trump Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

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U.S. Senators Urge President Trump to Support Taiwan’s Self Defense Capabilities

In a June 23, 2017 letter to President Donald Trump, Senators Benjamin Cardin, John Cornyn, James Inhofe, Edward Markey, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, and Ron Wyden urge President Trump to adopt a policy of regular, robust, and consistent support for Taiwan’s self-defense efforts in the face of ongoing military aggression by China and the growing cross-Strait military imbalance.

The letter enumerated three areas that require attention from the White House. The release of pending Taiwan arms sales programs currently awaiting Congressional notification; ending the practice of bundling Taiwan arms sales, instead establishing a regular and routine process whereby notifications would be sent to Congress when ready; and quickly and robustly addressing Taiwan’s significant and legitimate future requirements for new defense capabilities.

The Senators noted that the U.S. should not allow concerns about China to take precedence over support for Taiwan. They also commented that “China has intensified its economic coercion and military intimidation tactics, thereby stoking cross-Strait tensions and threatening peace and security in the Taiwan Strait. Given these circumstances, our support for Taiwan is more important than ever.”

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said “This letter is a welcome and positive development. The recent cross-Strait dynamics have been increasingly unstable due to coercive Chinese behavior and waning U.S. support. U.S. policy toward Taiwan requires sustained, focused, and determined engagement on Taiwan’s military modernization. The Council is pleased to see the Senate maintain its ongoing leadership on matters impacting U.S. relations with Taiwan, a core U.S. friend and ally in Northeast Asia. Such U.S. support for Taiwan serves to protect peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is a core strategic interest of the United States.

A copy of the letter is attached, and can also be downloaded from the Council’s website at www.us-taiwan.org.

U.S. Senators Urge President Trump to Support Taiwan’s Self Defense Capabilities (PDF)

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2017 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China

The U.S. Department of Defense has released its annual report to Congress on the military power of China.
2017 – Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (PDF)

One major section is called Force Modernization for a Taiwan Contingency.

 

The PLA continues to develop and deploy military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary. These improvements pose major challenges to Taiwan’s security, which has historically been rooted in the PLA’s inability to project power across the 100 nm Taiwan Strait, the natural geographic advantages of island defense, Taiwan’s armed forces’ technological superiority, and the possibility of U.S. intervention.

China appears prepared to defer the use of force as long as it believes that unification over the long term remains possible and that the costs of conflict outweigh the benefits. China argues that the credible threat of force is essential to maintain the conditions for political progress and to prevent Taiwan from making moves toward de jure independence. China has refused for decades to renounce the use of force to resolve the Taiwan issue, despite simultaneously professing its desire for peaceful unification under the principle of “one country, two systems.”

The circumstances under which the mainland has historically warned that it would use force have evolved over time in response to the island’s declarations of its political status, changes in PLA capabilities, and China’s view of Taiwan’s relations with other countries. These circumstances have included:

  • formal declaration of Taiwan independence;
  • undefined moves toward Taiwan independence;
  • internal unrest on Taiwan;
  • Taiwan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons;
  • indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue on unification;
  • foreign intervention in Taiwan’s internal affairs; and
  • foreign forces stationed on Taiwan.

Article 8 of China’s March 2005 Anti-Secession Law states that China may use “non-peaceful means” if “secessionist forces … cause the fact of Taiwan’s secession from China,” if “major incidents entailing Taiwan’s secession” occur, or if “possibilities for peaceful reunification” are exhausted. The ambiguity of these “redlines” preserves China’s flexibility.

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Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) Reports

 

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) occasionally publishes reports on the status of the military and national security in Taiwan.

Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)

The Amendment to Article 31 of the National Defense Act passed by the Legislative Yuan on July 17, 2008 mandates the MND to submit a Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) within ten months after every new president takes office in order to review and confirm defense strategy and military strategy, and provide a vision for future development.

The Taiwan Quadrennial Defense Review website is located at http://www.mnd.gov.tw

Quadrennial Defense Review 2009

Published in March, 2009

Quadrennial Defense Review 2013

Published in March, 2013

Quadrennial Defense Review 2017

Published in March, 2017

National Defense Report

The Ministry of National Defense is obligated to periodically report “what it has done, what it is doing, what it prepares to do, why it is going to do so” to the people in accordance with Article 30 of the National Defense Act. The National Defense Report is published to give citizens a better understanding of the nation’s current security environment and national defense policy.

The Taiwan National Defense Report website is located at http://www.mnd.gov.tw

National Defense Report 2002

Published July, 2002

National Defense Report 2008

Published May 13, 2008

National Defense Report 2011

Published August 22, 2011

National Defense Report 2013

Published October, 2013

National Defense Report 2015

Published October, 2015

For the Chinese language version, see http://www.mnd.gov.tw

 

 

Additional versions of these reports are also available at the Thinking Taiwan “Complete Collection of Taiwan’s Defence Policy Documents” page.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ustaiwandefense.com/taiwan-ministry-of-national-defense-reports/

Admiral Harris – Commander, United States Pacific Command – Statement on Taiwan

 

Free and fair democratic elections in January on the island of Taiwan reflect shared values with the U.S. The U.S. maintains its unofficial relations with Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan and we continue supporting Taiwan’s security. USPACOM will continue to fulfill U.S. commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act; continued arms sales to Taiwan are an important part of that policy and help ensure the preservation of democratic government institutions.

 

Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., USN
Commander, United States Pacific Command
Statement to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hearing Details & Video
Admiral Harris’ Written Statement

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The Obama Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

 

The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of State to announce its approval of possible Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certifications notifying Congress of the proposed Taiwan sales on December 16, 2015.

 

The published Congressional Notifications (transmittal numbers 15-27, 15-44, 15-45, 15-72, 15-74, 16-01, 16-05, and 16-06) were for two of the four FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates that that the U.S. authorized by law for transfer to Taiwan a year ago, and associated materials (at a refurbishment and upgrade cost of US$190 million); 36 AAV-7 Assault Amphibious Vehicles (US$375 million); 13 MK 15 Phalanx Block 1B ship defense Close-In Weapon Systems, upgrade kits, ammunition, and support (US$416 million); 208 Javelin guided missiles, technical assistance, logistics, and program support (US$57 million); 769 BGM-71F-series TOW 2B Aero Radio Frequency anti-armor missiles, support, and training (US$268 million); 250 Block I-92F MANPAD Stinger missiles, related equipment and support (US$217 million); Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System (TATDLS) and Link 11 communication systems integration (US$75 million); Follow-on support for Taiwan’s MIDS/LVT-1 and JTIDS previously procured (US$ 120 million).[i]

 

Taiwan is poised to elect a new President on January 16, 2016. The timing of this announcement is therefore useful as a modest signal to China that the U.S. has equities in the peaceful transition of power on the island, and that it supports Taiwan’s democratic system. However, the Taiwan Relations Act states that “the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” In light of this recent sale, the US-Taiwan Business Council poses a number of questions for the Obama Administration:

 

  1. Why did it take over four years to prepare this arms package? The last U.S. arms sale to Taiwan took place on September 21, 2011.
  2. Why isn’t Taiwan being offered any new capabilities to counter changes to the Chinese threat over this period?
  3. What impact are delays in consideration and execution of Taiwan arms requests having on the island’s ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability?

 

The contents of the arms package announced today – along with the unprecedented four-year delay since the last arms sale – raises serious questions as to whether it serves as a response commensurate to the threat posed by China’s military. The past four years has seen increased Chinese force modernization efforts, and according to the U.S. Department of Defense “the PLA has developed and deployed military capabilities to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary.[ii]

 

The Obama Administration’s focus on China military-to-military engagement and other initiatives in which China’s cooperation is viewed as crucial, such as on climate change efforts, is directly and negatively impacting U.S. willingness to maintain consistent and credible support for Taiwan’s self-defense. This in turn directly impacts the seriousness with which China views our intentions to assist Taiwan.

 

Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers noted that “There have been myriad initiatives in U.S.-Taiwan bilateral security relations since the last arms sale in 2011. However, while China has deployed new fighters, submarines, and missiles during the last four years, the U.S. has consistently refused to consider providing Taiwan access to similar platforms, or even aiding their indigenous development.

 

In addition, the process for considering, assessing, and processing Taiwan arms sales is broken. The contorted efforts to provide the minimum over an extended period has amounted to long delays and to the U.S. providing only second-hand equipment and additional munitions for systems already in Taiwan’s inventory. The U.S. is placing its China priorities ahead of our legacy and legal requirement to provide for Taiwan’s self-defense. We see no effort to meaningfully address China’s modernization efforts with new capabilities for Taiwan – not because they are unneeded, but because the political cost to China relations is perceived as being too high. Yet that perception was roundly debunked by the Council and Project 2049 in our 2012 report on Chinese reactions to arms sales.[iii]

 

Hammond-Chambers also said “The process that has seen the bundling of Taiwan arms sales into large packages has run its course. The arbitrary manner in which programs are considered, the absence of a broader strategy for providing Taiwan consistent material support, and the long delays in processing and notifying them to Congress is hampering Taiwan’s ability to mount a serious defense. By bundling programs into packages, the U.S. forces Taiwan to buy all necessary equipment at once rather than in an orderly year-on-year process. If requests go unaddressed for years, or programs are long delayed, how can Taiwan reasonably maintain domestic political support for them, or develop the budget for its ongoing force modernization?

 

The US-Taiwan Business Council supports the return to a normal and regular process for assessing all Taiwan arms sales requests and sales. Additionally, the Council believes that the bilateral security relationship needs to be clear about what new capabilities should accompany ongoing training and exchanges in aid of Taiwan’s self-defense – including addressing quantitative issues impacting its fighter fleet, its requirement for submarines to complicate Chinese invasion scenarios, as well as further improvements in Taiwan’s missile defense capabilities.

 

[i] As of 1:00 pm on December 16, 2015. For details, see the DSCA website at http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales
[ii] See: “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015” http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2015_China_Military_Power_Report.pdf
[iii] See: “Chinese Reactions to Taiwan Arms Sales” http://www.us-taiwan.org/reports/2012_chinese_reactions_to_taiwan_arms_sales.pdf

Press Release: The Obama Administration Announces U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan (PDF)

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The DPP’s National Defense Agenda

DPP’s  Defense  Agenda

 

On May 26, 2015 the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released four “blue papers” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda. (Press Conference)

The first of these papers (Defense Policy Blue Paper 9) has been completely translated into English, but in the remaining reports only the forewords have been translated. Forewords are written by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 9 – Taiwan’s Military Capacities in 2025

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 10 – Information Protection and Strategic Communications

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 11 – Refinement of Veteran Affairs

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 12 – Preparing the Development of Indigenous Defense Industry

 


 

On December 5, 2014, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released its eight “blue paper” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda.

Titled “Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief,” the paper calls for the Taiwan armed forces to expand their role and mission in order to improve military effectiveness in contingencies other than war.

English language foreword by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen

Report Announcement

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 8 – Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

 


 

On October 6, 2014, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released its seventh “blue paper” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda.

Titled “Bolstering Taiwan’s Core Defense Industries,” the paper calls for reviving the domestic defense industry, with the goal of elevating Taiwan’s capacity to produce its own defensive equipment and weaponry.

English language foreword by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen

Report Announcement

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 7 – Bolstering Taiwan’s Core Defense Industries

 


 

On August 22, 2014, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released its sixth “blue paper” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda.

Titled “New Generation of Soldiers,” the paper calls for initiating reform of internal military affairs with personnel considerations as a core value, and strengthening the connection between the military and society.

English language foreword by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen

Report Announcement

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 6 – New Generation of Soldiers

 


 

On March 3, 2014, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released its fifth “blue paper” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda.

In announcing the report, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang firmly stressed the need for Taiwan to pursue stronger defense capabilities. He stated that the DPP will take full responsibility of becoming the catalyst for strengthening national defenses by encouraging indigenous defense production, especially for submarine capabilities. He also stated that Taiwan must “promptly adjust its national defense strategy, military strategy, and operational concepts” to meet growing Chinese military threats and “establish Taiwan’s self-defense capability.”

The report itself stated that Taiwan should focus on fostering private investment in indigenous R&D, next-generation weapons, and cyber warfare.

Both the Chinese and English versions have been compiled into one document (the English translation begins on page 37).

Report Announcement

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 5 – China’s Military Threats against Taiwan in 2025

 


 

On June 6, 2013 the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) think tank New Frontier Foundation released four “blue papers” covering the DPP’s national defense agenda. (Press Conference, Report Announcement)

The first report covers the overall strategy and philosophy behind the DPP’s national defense policy. The second report covers recommendations on transforming the quasi-governmental Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), and on strengthening the nation’s military-industrial and research capabilities. The third report covers recommendations for Taiwan’s National Security Council (NSC), while the fourth outlines the DPP’s plans to strengthen military cooperation between Taiwan and the United States.

The first paper has been completely translated into English, but in the remaining reports only the forewords have been translated.

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 1 – DPP’s  Defense  Agenda

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 2 – Transforming  the  CSIST: Strengthening Indigenous Defense Research and Development

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 3 – An Accountable National Security Council

DPP Defense Policy Blue Paper 4 – New Chapter for Taiwan‐U.S. Defense Partnership

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US-Taiwan Business Council Believes that the Obama Administration Remains Committed to Taiwan’s F-16 Upgrade Program

Recent reports have indicated that the alleged defunding by the U.S. Air Force of the combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) will negatively impact Taiwan’s F-16 A/B upgrade program. The US-Taiwan Business Council believes these reports to be inaccurate. Should this defunding occur, it will have no impact on the schedule or cost for Taiwan’s extensive upgrade program, including on the development of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

The Council understands that the U.S. Air Force remains fully committed to the Taiwan F-16 upgrade program, and that their assurances are reflected in the signed Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). That commitment ensures that the cost and schedule put in place by the LOA remains, and that the Taiwan military will not see any changes to their program even if the CAPES program is altered. This extends through the upgrade and into the sustainment of the upgraded equipment.

Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers said, “I am pleased that the U.S. Air Force remains committed to the Taiwan upgrade program and to the assurances that were made in the LOA. This retrofit program is the first of two steps to upgrade Taiwan’s fighter fleet, with the second step – purchase of replacement F-16 C/Ds – still to be approved.

Hammond-Chambers added, “The ongoing impact of tighter U.S. defense spending, and the decisions impacting fighter upgrades for legacy U.S. equipment, merely highlights the need for the U.S. to continue to build capacity among its Asia Pacific security allies, including Taiwan. Taiwan has a legitimate need for additional fighters to meet its sovereign security requirements, and F-16 C/Ds would best fit that need.

 

US-Taiwan Business Council Believes that the Obama Administration Remains Committed to Taiwan’s F-16 Upgrade Program (PDF file)

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U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission – 2013 Annual Report to Congress

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) was “created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.

On November 20, 2013, the USCC released its 2013 annual report to congress. Chapter 3, Section 2 of the report contains analysis on Taiwan, including discussions on cross-Strait relations, Taiwan’s role in the East and South China Sea disputes, and the status of U.S.-Taiwan relations. The report also contains extensive discussion on cross-Strait military and security issues.

Complete Report (PDF, 15MB)
Chapter 3, Section 2: Taiwan (PDF, 1.1MB)

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Special Commentary: Signing of an LOA to Upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 A/B Fighters

The US-Taiwan Business Council congratulates the governments of the United States and Taiwan on their recent signing of a US$3.8 billion Letter of Offer & Acceptance (LOA) to upgrade Taiwan’s 145 F-16 A/B fighters. This deal will provide Taiwan’s existing fleet of F-16 A/Bs with important enhancements by means of a contract spanning nearly a decade of work (2012-2021). The agreement provides for Taiwan adding advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to its fighters, as well as for making structural upgrades, improving avionics, and expanding electronic warfare suites.

The future boost in Taiwan’s airpower capabilities represented by this LOA was a long time in coming. It would not have happened without the leadership of Senator John Cornyn. As a result of the Senator’s perseverance, the Obama Administration notified to Congress a US$5.3 billion F-16 A/B upgrade program in September 2011. In the absence of Senator Cornyn’s personal attention to this important Asia Pacific security matter, it is likely that the upgrade program LOA would not have been consummated last Friday, July 13, 2012.

Despite this positive development, however, Taiwan’s very real and urgent requirement for additional fighters remains unaddressed.

Taiwan & the U.S. Re-Balance Towards Asia

The Obama Administration is currently paying increased attention to the Asia Pacific region, and has undertaken a significant effort to highlight its “Pivot to Asia” and its re-balancing of priorities. This is welcome news.

In the context of this re-balancing effort, moving ahead with the F-16 A/B upgrade program is an important initial step in Taiwan’s effort to play its role in the region. However, Taiwan’s requirement to also purchase new fighters is just as serious and urgent as the U.S.-supported modernization programs for Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

It is important to clearly understand the grave issues faced by Taiwan’s air forces after 2016. In the latter part of that year, the Taiwan Air Force will start to withdraw up to a squadron (24) at a time of F-16 A/Bs to undergo upgrades and modernization. With 16 fighters permanently allocated for training at Luke Air Force Base, and with an operational rate of 70%, Taiwan will then have as few as 73 F-16 A/Bs operational at any one time – half of its existing fleet. In addition, these remaining fighters will not yet have been modernized, and will be required to fly more missions to attempt to maintain control over Taiwan’s myriad defense and security scenarios. This is simply not enough to handle all of Taiwan’s many needs, whether at war or while at peace.

What is the Plan to Fill Taiwan’s 2016-2021 Fighter Gap?

In an April 27, 2012 letter to Senator Cornyn, the White House stated that it is “mindful of and share your concerns about Taiwan’s growing shortfall in fighter aircraft.” The letter also noted that the Obama Administration is deciding “on a near term course of action on how to address Taiwan’s fighter gap, including through the sale to Taiwan of an undetermined number of new US-made fighter aircraft.”

This important language should be at the center of the next stage of Taiwan’s air force modernization. Neither the U.S. nor Taiwan has the luxury to take several years to determine what to do next. The two governments need to settle on a plan in the coming months, a plan that can be implemented so that while Taiwan’s F-16 A/Bs are being withdrawn from the front line in 2016 and beyond, new fighters are available to fill the gap. This plan could be as simple as a phased approval approach. Phase I could be for a small number of new F-16s (24) to compensate for those existing aircraft out of service during the upgrade program. These new aircraft could be delivered in parallel with the upgrade/modification schedule.

There are some who argue that the F-35B – the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the new U.S. fighter – should be the focus of Taiwan efforts to modernize its fighter fleet. In 2011, press reports indicated that a U.S. Department of Defense report to Congress highlighted a STOVL aircraft as the best solution for Taiwan.

Certainly a STOVL variant would meet many of Taiwan’s needs, and if it was available that could be an attractive option. However, the F-35B will certainly not be made available to Taiwan in the next decade. It therefore fails to meet Taiwan’s fighter gap needs between 2016 and 2021. In addition, the F-35B is significantly more expensive than the F-16 C/D – it represents a new airframe and therefore a new supply chain to keep it operational through training, upgrading, and maintenance. The F-35B would therefore create even greater budgetary pressures for Taiwan’s already under-funded defense establishment.

The US-Taiwan Business Council welcomes the signing of the F-16 A/B upgrade and modernization contract this past Friday. Nevertheless, this action does not offer a complete solution. Indeed, removing F-16 A/Bs from the front line to be upgraded actually makes Taiwan’s 2016-2021 fighter gap that much wider. Taiwan will not have enough fighters to patrol its skies.

The Council urges the U.S. & Taiwan governments to put a plan in place as soon as possible to address this destabilizing shortfall.

Special Commentary: Signing of an LOA to Upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 A/B Fighters

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