The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has awarded an F-16 aircraft flight-line maintenance and sharpshooter targeting pod maintenance contract in support of Taiwan’s F-16 programme at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace was awarded the $7.8m contract, according to Defense News.

Taiwan’s 21st Tactical Fighter Squadron, known as the Gamblers, includes 12 F-16A/B block 20 fighter aircraft and has been based at Luke Air Force Base for training since the 1990s.

Taiwan has been trying to acquire 66 new F-16C/D block 50/52 aircraft since 2006 to replace its aging F-5 Tigers.

Once Taiwan completes the acquisition of the additional F-16 aircraft, a second squadron of F-16s will be based at Luke Air Force Base.