The US State Department has blocked Taiwan’s petition to submit a letter of request (LoR) for the sale of new 66 F-16C/D block 50/52 fighter jets as per the orders from the US National Security Council.

Taiwan’s de facto embassy, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), cannot submit a LoR to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) because it is under State Department orders to deny it.

Taiwan has been requesting new F-16C/Ds and an upgrade package for 146 aging F-16A/B fighters from the US since 2006 and 2009 respectively, however, the US Government also blocked three earlier LoR attempts.

The new F-16C/Ds are intended to replace aging F-5 and Mirage 2000 fighters scheduled for retirement within the next five to ten years.

Lockheed Martin had commissioned a report that estimated the value of the sale of the F-16 jets to be $8.7bn, according to Defence News.