To bolster Taiwan’s defence readiness, the US State Department has approved a potential $220m (T$7.1bn) sale of F-16 spare and repair parts to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States.

The deal shows the US commitment to maintaining military balance and political stability in a region marked by rising tensions.

The threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is currently a concern for the US, as highlighted by GlobalData’s intelligence on the US defence market.

Taiwan’s defence strategy strengthened by US support

The approval follows recent developments from Taiwan to enhance its F-16 fleet. In 2024, they stocked their offensive capabilities by acquiring 50 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) air-to-surface missiles (AGM-154 Block III C) valued at $68.4m. In 2023, the US government approved a $500m Foreign Military Sales agreement to supply Taiwan with infrared search and track (IRST) technology for its F-16 Fighting Falcon jets.

Former US President Donald Trump approved a major FMS deal of 66 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets worth $8bn in August 2019. Taiwan’s armed forces are expected to operate 208 F-16s by 2026, according to GlobalData’s “Taiwan Defense Market 2023-2028” report.

The State Department’s recent approval of a potential $220m Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan’s TECRO highlights an ongoing commitment to fortifying Taiwan’s defence capabilities. This deal, centred on standard spare and repair parts for F-16 aircraft, is designed to enhance Taiwan’s operational readiness and long-term defence strategy.

The approved sale will provide Taiwan with essential spare and repair parts, components, consumables, and accessories for its fleet of F-16 aircraft. This package includes engineering, technical, and logistics support services from US government and contractor sources. The support aims to ensure Taiwan’s air force can meet current and future threats.

Ensuring regional stability

The US Navy has made headlines with its recent transits through the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, stirring tensions and drawing sharp reactions from China. The USS Halsey conducted a Freedom of Navigation operation through the Taiwan Strait on May 14, 2024, challenging China’s territorial claims and prompting criticism from the Chinese government.

Similarly, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon’s transit through the Taiwan Strait on April 17, 2024, signalled a commitment to upholding navigational rights and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific amid escalating geopolitical rivalries.

Notably, the equipment for this sale will be sourced from existing US Air Force stock. Additionally, implementing this sale will not necessitate deploying additional US government or contractor personnel to Taiwan.