TAIPEI --- Taiwan could begin to receive its first batch of 66 new F16V fighter jets from the U.S. as soon as the end of 2020.
Taiwan has made new progress in the purchase of 66 F16V jets from the U.S. On Feb. 27, the Ministry of National Defense officially submitted its application for the fighter jets, according to the Apple Daily.
The U.S. is expected to give an official decision on the request within 120 days, and mostly likely June at the latest. The estimated cost of the new warplanes will be between NT$240 billion (US$7.76 billion) and NT$250 billion (US$8.08 billion), and delivery of the jets could begin by late 2020.
A military official told China Times that the reason why Taiwan is opting for F-16V jets instead of the state-of-the art F-35 fighters is that the U.S. has said it is not willing to sell the advanced aircraft to Taiwan for at least 10 years. In addition, the official said it will take another eight years produce the jets for Taiwan and to train its pilots on the fifth-generation combat aircraft, thus meaning it could be 18 years before Taiwan could fly the F-35.
The official disclosed that if the request for the F-16V fighters goes through smoothly, they will be ready for delivery by the end of 2020 or early 2021. At present, the U.S. has not officially quoted an exact price and it will ultimately depend on the specifications chosen for the jets. (end of excerpt)
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