Although it is possible that the Lockheed Martin F-35 could be sold to Taiwan, the island might not be able to afford buying the stealth fighter hence it could buy legacy fighters such as F-15s, F/A-18s or more F-16s
A recent article by Taiwan’s Up Media says the island is evaluating a plan to buy the Boeing F-15 or F/A-18 not only as a replacement for the Mirage 2000 but also to “strengthen its defense capabilities and counter China’s Russia-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft. The report said Taiwan and the U.S. have had preliminary discussions about the purchase, and retired models such as the F-15C/D or new models like the F-15 2040C, the F-18E/F and the F-18XT have all been mentioned.”
But according Focus Taiwan Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) sidestepped the speculation when queried by local media. The service neither confirm nor deny the story and said “it was upgrading its military capabilities with the newest technology and based on present needs and future threats.”
Noteworthy Taiwan possible interest in Boeing fighters comes as a total surprise.
In fact as we previously reported, on Apr. 5, 2017 an official from Taiwan told the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the island welcomes the sale of the F-35 stealth fighter. Taiwan was looking for a fighter with short-take off and vertical-landing (STOVL)capabilities, hence the need for the “B” variant of the F-35. But, although it is possible that the Lockheed Martin F-35 could be sold to Taiwan, the island might not be able to afford buying the stealth fighter hence it could buy legacy fighters such as F-15s, F/A-18s or more F-16s.
Past U.S. administrations have sold weapons for defense purposes to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, a U.S. law that stipulates maintaining commercial and cultural ties with Taiwan, even after having severed their diplomatic relations with the country in 1979.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama sold weapons to the island three times between 2010 and 2015, although, taking China into account, it decided to not include new fighter jets submarines and Aegis destroyers that Taiwan sought in the arms packages.
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