Taiwan renews F-16 request as US defends upgrade

September 20, 2011 04:06

RICHMOND, Va. - An upgrade of Taiwan's fleet of F-16s would provide essentially the same quality as new fighter jets, a US government official said on Monday as Taiwan officials renewed a push for the latest model.

The Obama administration informally told US lawmakers on Friday it would upgrade Taiwan's 140-plus existing F-16 A/B jets while deferring Taipei's request for the more advanced F-16 C/Ds.

The senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the administration would formally notify Congress of its decision on Wednesday. The official declined to confirm details of the package for Taiwan.

"Assuming the decision is to upgrade F-16 A/Bs, they will provide essentially the same quality as new F-16 C/D aircraft at a far cheaper price," the official said in New York.

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