Taiwan to complete 1st upgrades to locally made fighters in 2013
Taiwan is set to complete the first stage of a plan to upgrade locally built indigenous defense fighters (IDFs) by the end of 2013 in an effort to counter the military threat from China, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry said in a report sent to the Legislature recently that the upgraded aircraft will be equipped with enhanced radar, avionics and electronic warfare capabilities, as well the locally developed Wan Chien cluster bomb.
With a budget of roughly NT$17.06 billion (US$587.26 million), the first stage of the project was launched in 2009 to retrofit the IDFs, which have been in service for more than a decade, said the report.
The upgrades will prolong the service life of the fighter jets for about another 20 years, according to the ministry.
It added that a second stage of IDF upgrades is expected to be carried out between 2014 and 2017.
The IDF is one of Taiwan's main combat aircraft, along with the U.S.-made F-16 A/B jet fighters and the France-made Mirage 2000-5s.
In further efforts to maintain its defense capabilities, Taiwan in July also signed a proposal by the United States to retrofit the country's aging F-16 A/B jet fighters in a deal worth some US$3.8 billion.
Source: By Elaine Hou, Taipei, CNANews – 1 January 2013
Photo: The Taiwan Air Force Fighter Aircraft (Photo by files)