JAKARTA – A software issue delayed the delivery of 66 new advanced F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan from the United States, but the island still expects a full order to arrive in 2026, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Thursday.
The United States in 2019 approved an $8 billion sale of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a deal that will bring the island’s F-16 fleet to more than 200 jets, the largest in Asia, to strengthen its defense in the face of increasing threats from China, which claims Taiwan as its own.
Chiu earlier this month said 66 F-16Vs had been delayed due to supply chain disruptions, but on Thursday further explained that the issue was related to a flight control software issue and they were working to resolve it with the United States.
“In principle in 2026 all 66 planes will arrive, there is absolutely no problem with this,” he told reporters in parliament.
In a statement late on Wednesday, the ministry said the software development process had been put on hold, and Lockheed Martin had this year unveiled two F-16V prototypes, one of which was on a separate order from Bahrain.
Lockheed Martin said in an emailed statement that it was “working closely with the US Government to address challenges in support of US security cooperation goals”. It’s not complicated.
Chiu said they were concerned about the delay but that communications with the United States on the matter were “fluent”.
Taiwan has converted 141 of its F-16A/B jets to the F-16V type and has additionally ordered 66 new F-16Vs, which have advanced avionics, weapons and radar systems to better confront the Chinese air force, including the J-20 aircraft. stealth fighter.
Taiwan has complained last year about delays in deliveries of US weapons, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as manufacturers divert supplies to Ukraine while fighting Russian troops, and the issue has worried US lawmakers.
Congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said during a visit to Taipei last month that he was doing everything possible to expedite the arms shipment.