Taiwan has showed off its latest military hardware.
The Island country of over 20million people, showed off upgraded F-16 fighter jets on Thursday, November 18, which it would use to defend itself in event of an air attack from China.
The F-16s could be seen across the sky at Chiayi Air Base on the island’s southwestern coast as pilots performed aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the capabilities of Taiwan’s first squadron of US-made F-16V, or Viper, fighter jets.
The planes were upgraded from older F-16A/B fighter jets, originally acquired by Taiwan in the 1990s, and are equipped with advanced radar systems and new mission computers, according to the official Central News Agency (CNA).
Taiwan also revealed it has plans to upgrade 141 fighters to the newer version by 2023, it added saying more than 60 F-16s have already been upgraded, according to Vice Defense Minister Wang Hsin-lung.
Taiwan has also purchased 66 new F-16Vs from manufacturer Lockheed Martin in the United States, and delivery is expected to start in 2023.
During the commissioning ceremonyon Thursday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the formation of a new F-16V combat wing has demonstrated the deepening friendship between the island and the US.
“The Lockheed Martin team has provided us with a lot of assistance in completing the upgrade,” she said. “This not only signals the further progress of Taiwan-US friendship, but also represents a firm commitment to Taiwan-US relations.”
This comes as China’s ruling Communist Party has been stepping up its military pressure on Taiwan, including sending 150 warplanes near the island in just five days in October, prompting Taipei to issue radio warnings and deploy air defense missile systems to monitor the activity.
China’s leader Xi Jinping hasn’t ruled out invading Taiwan and said recently that he will do anything necessary to bring back Taiwan to the ‘motherland’
Taiwan has had its own government and military since the end of the Chinese Civil War more than seven decades ago.
Watch the video below
Taiwan has shown off its most advanced jet with a ceremony to commission the first squadron of the warplane. The deployment is part of a plan to boost its defence against threats from Beijing. pic.twitter.com/joCN06kwe6
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