Taiwan has finally begun upgrading its force of 144 elderly F-16A Block 20 fighters. These are some of the oldest F-16s still in service. The upgrades will cost about $38 million per aircraft. Taiwan has on order 66 F-16 block 50/52 fighters, a sale which has been blocked by local politics, and Chinese protests, for years may now be happening because the new U.S. government has expressed interest in dealing with Chinese threats.
The F-16As are 1980s technology but the F-16 is a very upgradable aircraft. That is largely because the F-16 has been popular enough to keep the production lines going strong until 2016. The U.S. still has about 1,200 F-16s in service (about half with reserve units). The 16 ton F-16 also has an admirable combat record, and is very popular with pilots. It has been successful at ground support as well. When equipped with 4-6 smart bombs it is an effective bomber. Continue reading
Barack Obama has reduced the U.S. Navy to its smallest size since before World War I. He has also allowed our sailors to be subjected to serial, provocative humiliations by adversaries around the world. Taken together, you have a formula for disaster. Continue reading