Taiwan, US agree to US$3.8 bil. upgrade of existing F-16A/Bs
The China PostBy Joseph Yeh--Taiwan's military has accepted the United States' offer of a US$3.8 billion upgrade package for the country's existing F-16A/B fighter jets after concluding a review on the deal recently, sources told the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday.
July 3, 2012, 12:36 am TWN
To complete the deal, the U.S.' Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for the retrofit project will be signed and handed back to Washington via Taiwan's Air Force as soon as this Friday, July 5, the report said.
The LOA arrived in Taiwan this May and local authorities are supposed to sign it or conduct further negotiations before the July 26 deadline, the report said. There were previous reports that senior Taiwan government officials expressed reluctance, calling the deal too expensive.
The retrofitting of Taiwan's 145 F-16A/B fighters will include the installation of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, which are expected to replace the current radar system used by the fighter jets, according to military sources.
The AESA radar system upgrade could cost as much as US$600 million since the system needs to be redesigned for the upgrade, military sources said.
No F-16A/B jets are equipped with the system. Therefore, if it was installed in the F-16A/Bs, it would require the U.S. side to tailor a unique model for Taiwan, according to sources.
The report quoted military officials as saying that the U.S. has promised to subsidize the additional cost of the custom design if there are other countries interested in purchasing the AESA radar system on F-16A/Bs in the future.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are two vendors that are currently bidding to supply AESA radars for the Taiwan F-16A/B retrofit deal, the report said.
Other items on the upgrade list include AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kits, the officials added.
In September, 2011 the U.S. approved the sale of a retrofit and training package for Taiwan's F-16A/B fighters.