Taiwan's first F-16V combat wing soon to be commissioned: source

09/21/2021 02:03 PM
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An F-16 fighter jet takes off during the recent Han Kuang drills in Pingtung County. CNA file photo
An F-16 fighter jet takes off during the recent Han Kuang drills in Pingtung County. CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's first F-16V combat wing is expected to be commissioned into the Air Force in November, a military source told CNA on Tuesday.

The Air Force launched a program in 2016 to retrofit all of its 141 F-16 A/Bs into F-16Vs, which are equipped with more advanced avionics, including APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a Helmet Mounted Cueing System, and other flight management and electronic warfare systems.

A military source familiar with the matter told CNA that the Air Force has already successfully upgraded at least 42 of the 141 F-16 A/B jet fighters to the new F-16V standards.

A commissioning ceremony for the newly upgraded F-16Vs was originally to be held at Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan in April but the domestic COVID-19 outbreak during that time forced the event to be held at a later date, the source said.

Now the military has decided the postponed ceremony will be held in November, the source added.

After commissioning, the 42 F-16Vs will be listed as a combat wing under the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing based in Chiayi.

The Air Force has previously said upgrading of all 141 F-16A/Bs will be completed by 2023.

In addition to the retrofit program that is still ongoing, Taiwan has also purchased 66 new F-16Vs from the United States, and delivery is expected to start in 2023.

The 66 F-16Vs bought from the U.S. will be deployed at the Taitung Air Base in eastern Taiwan in the future.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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