Taiwan formally signed an agreement to buy 66 of the latest model F-16 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp., a move likely to further inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.
Taiwan’s purchase of the F-16s marks the first sale of advanced fighter jets to the island since President George H.W. Bush announced approval for 150 F-16s in 1992. A $62 billion figure announced by the Pentagon on Friday is the upper limit of numerous contracts if all potential foreign customers placed their maximum desired number over the decade.
In addition to Taiwan, Morocco is buying 24 F-16s jets in the first tranche of 90 aircraft that the Pentagon said was valued at $4.9 billion. (…/…)
The new F-16s are being assembled at Lockheed’s new facility in Greenville, South Carolina, which opened in April 2019. The contracting mechanism used by the Pentagon “will facilitate faster contract awards and greater pricing clarity for our foreign military partners,” Brian Brackens, an Air Force spokesman, said in a statement to Bloomberg News before the contract announcement.
“Taiwan and Morocco are expected to be the first two partner nations that will utilize this contract,” Brackens said. (end of excerpt)
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