Taipei, May 4 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force Command Headquarters said Saturday that it has received a letter of answer from the United States concerning Taiwan's request to upgrade its F-16 jet fighter fleet.
The U.S. administration referred an arms sales package to Congress last September that includes the upgrading of Taiwan's 145 F-16 A/B jet fighters.
According to the package unveiled at that time, the F-16 A/B upgrade will include installation of LINK16 -- a military tactical data exchange network -- as well as AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array), also known as active phased array radar which is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules.
The list also includes AIM-9X, the latest member of the AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile family.
Military experts said the upgrade program will greatly enhance the combat capability of Taiwan's F-16 A/B fleet, including the ability to counter warplanes that employ stealth technology.
The Air Force Command Headquarters said it is reviewing the items and prices of each item listed in the U.S. letter.
"We will sign an agreement on the deal only after we have completed an overall review and have determined that all the items meet our requirements or demands," the headquarters said in a statement.
Military sources said the U.S. Congress set a ceiling of US$5.852 billion on the sales package.
Noting that the original list contained some items that Taiwan has no intention of purchasing or replacing, the sources said those items had been deleted after discussion with U.S. authorities.
As a result, the sources said the amount listed in the U.S. letter is roughly the same as the budget of US$3.7 billion approved by the Executive Yuan.
(By Chen Pei-huang and Sofia Wu)