Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taiwan to sign for F-16 AESA radar upgrade in July?

Looks like Taiwan may be the first Asian nation to select an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for it's F-16s. Taiwan's United Evening News has said that Taiwan will sign a US$600m deal with the United States to retrofit the Republic of China Air Force's 145 F-16A/B Block 20s with AESA radars as part of a previously reported US$5.3b project to upgrade the RoCAF's F-16s.

As reported here a while back, Taiwan is among 3 Asian nations looking to upgrade their F-16 fleets with AESA radars, with Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) and the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) being the contenders. It is expected the winner of the RoCAF's AESA competition will be the favourite for the other 2 AESA upgrades, along with the USAF's own F-16 AESA upgrade, if the latter goes ahead with the plan.

It was reported in May that Taiwan has been pressured to pay for non-recurring integration costs of the AESA sets onto the F-16, which it was loathe to do due to budget constraints. However, unlike the other nations looking to upgrade their F-16s, Taiwan has no avenue to acquire more modern combat aircraft, with both South Korea and Singapore operating advanced F-15s alongside their F-16s. It looks like Taiwan has had to cave in, at least partially, on this.

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