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Taiwan To Upgrade IDFs, Buy 50 Trainers

Taiwan IDF F-CK-1 Ching-kuo (Photo from Taiwan air Power) Taiwan said Sept. 28 that it plans ...

Taiwan IDF F-CK-1 Ching-kuo (Photo from Taiwan air Power)

Taiwan said Sept. 28 that it plans to upgrade a fleet of 56 home-grown fighters and buy more than 50 trainers as part of a major air force modernization package.

The move comes as the U.S. and China are embroiled in a row over a decision by Washington to upgrade the island's U.S.-made F-16 A/B fighters in a separate, multibillion-dollar deal.

Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu told a parliamentary committee that 56 Indigenous Defensive Fighters (IDFs) will be upgraded from 2013 to 2017 at an estimated cost of Tw$16 billion (U.S. $530 million).

A total of 127 IDFs are being upgraded, with 71 already being equipped with new mission computers and modern radar systems.

The ministry plans to spend Tw$80 billion on the acquisition of 50 training aircraft but had not yet decided whether purchase them abroad or develop its own, Kao said.

Including the upgrades to the F-16s the total modernization package is priced at U.S. $8.5 billion.

Beijing has refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan even though the island has ruled itself for more than six decades since their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

Washington recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei but remains a leading arms supplier to the island, providing a source of continued Sino-U.S. tension.




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