The US is to evaluate a request to upgrade Taiwan’s existing F-16 A/B fighters or sell new F-16 C/D fighters to help sustain its air defence capability.

USAF deputy under secretary of the air force for international affairs Bruce Lemkin told Focus Taiwan it needed to replace its aging F-16 A/B fleet to sustain air defence capability in the years to come.

Lemkin said that further assessment of how to improve Taiwan’s air defence, either by upgrading its existing fleet or selling it new aircraft, would be required.

Taiwan’s repeated request to the US Government to approve the sale of 66 F-16 C/Ds to replace its obsolete F-5 E/F fighters, has so far neither been accepted nor rejected by Washington.

Members of the US Congress and the Washington-based US-Taiwan Business Council are also urging Washington to decide quickly on the request.