According to expectations, Texas-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics was awarded contract worth $1.85 billion for significant upgrade of Taiwan’s fleet of 145 F-16A/Bs acquired in early 1990s. Lockheed Martin has been considered front-runner for the upgrade after it signed memorandum of understanding with Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) on 12 July, 2012. The only Lockheed’s competitor was British company BAE Systems. Upgrade was approved by current U.S. Administration in September 2011 as part of the most recent arms sales package for Taiwan.
Upgrades will bring Taiwan’s F-16s close to the most recent configuration of F-16, including powerful AESA radar and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. However, aging hull and relatively weak engine significantly limits these upgrades. The whole project will not be finished until 2027.
I will have to say this is not a good decision. I feel that the F-16, although is a “Proven” fighter
(still highly debatable statement) have its age. By the time the upgrade is finish, the upgraded
fighter will become inferior to the already coming to production J-31, J-20, and J-15. Added on to
the structural stress accumulation, it is a dangerous situation. Though I understood the political
complication and export limitation of R.O.C and U.S. I feel that R.O.C should give up trying to
buy expensive upgrade and second hand weapons that will end up in malefaction quickly.
It better for R.O.C to try and negotiate to joint-develop with countries that are developing fighter or new version of them ie. (((Stealth Gripen and Sea Gripen)))