The US Air Force has upgraded 139 Taiwanese Air Force F-16 fighter jets to the F-16Vs (Block 70-72) configuration.
The last aircraft under the Peace Phoenix Rising program was delivered in December, Air and Space Forces Magazine wrote citing the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
It comes five years after the first F-16V was delivered in late 2018 and a little over two years after the commissioning of Taiwan’s first F-16V squadron in November 2021.
The $4.5 billion phase 1 upgrades include “AN/APG-83 AESA radar, the Sniper targeting pod, Link 16, a helmet-mounted cueing system, precision GPS navigation…an upgraded modular mission computer, an ethernet high speed data network, a new center cockpit pedestal display, and heavyweight landing gear,” according to Air and Space Forces Magazine.
Additional modifications include structural upgrades to the wings, fuselage, and landing gear.
66 New F-16Vs Within Three Years
Conceptualized to enhance Taiwan’s deterrence against a potential Chinese invasion, the largest F-16 foreign military sales retrofit program began in 2016.
The upgrades will be followed by the delivery of 66 new F-16Vs within two to three years for $8 billion.
It comes on the heels of 24 US lawmakers urging US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in November to expedite the program’s conclusion.
“Taiwan urgently needs these new and upgraded aircraft, and a stronger, more resilient Taiwan will improve stability across the Taiwan Strait,” their letter read.
Taiwan requested the upgrades and new aircraft after being denied F-35s by the US.
In addition, Taiwan has requested US support for the development of its indigenous aircraft, expected to take its maiden flight in 2025.