Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has unveiled a new centre, which is dedicated to the maintenance of its F-16 fighter jets.

Located in Taichung, the new US-backed centre comes as tensions between China and Taiwan continue to build.

The hub will be headed by Lockheed Martin and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) of Taiwan.

Earlier this month, Taiwan signed an agreement to purchase 66 F-16 jets from Lockheed Martin amid escalating tensions between the US and China.

As part of the $62bn deal, Taiwan will procure the latest generation of F-16s to boost its air power. The Pentagon also confirmed the deal without specifying the buyer.

This deal is expected to increase Taiwan’s fleet size of F-16 to over 200.

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Ing-wen said: “This new maintenance centre will significantly reduce maintenance time and increase fighter jet availability, ensuring air superiority on the front line of national defence.

“Promoting our national defence industries is the cornerstone of Taiwan’s national defence and upgrades our military capabilities.

“The launch and implementation of our indigenous submarine program, acceleration of the F-16 reconfiguration project, the inaugural flight of our first Brave Eagle advanced jet trainer, and the inauguration of this F-16 maintenance centre all prove that we are on the right track.”

This centre will hire some retired airforce maintenance and repair personnel in the future to contribute their expertise and experience to develop national defence industries.

The president noted that more than 100 vendors showed interest in taking part in the production and maintenance functions.

Earlier this week, China accused the US of trespassing and violating rules by allowing its military aircraft to fly into a no-fly zone.