DN - Defence Notes

Taiwan sends senior delegation to DC for F-35B

2nd October 2017 - 01:10 GMT | by Wendell Minnick in Taipei


A senior Taiwan military delegation is now in Washington to present a high-level briefing to the US government on Taiwan’s need for the stealth fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning fighter, an anonymous source who met with the delegation told Shephard.

The briefing was requested by the US government to clarify past enquiries by Taiwan for its need of a ‘stealth’ fighter.

‘This is an unusually high-level delegation of Taiwan officials in Washington’ to make their official plea for the sale of the aircraft, the source said.

The F-35B variant is capable of short take-off/vertical landing, something the Republic of China Air Force has argued it needs to overcome China’s short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) capability of shattering air bases at the outbreak of any war.

China reportedly has more than 1,300 SRBMs within range of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s need for an advanced fighter to replace ageing Mirage 2000 and F-5 types has been debated both in Taipei and Washington for at least a decade.

Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters was denied by the Obama administration due to pressure from Beijing.

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