U.S. to deny Taiwan new F-16 fighters

Offers AESA radar in upgrade for older jets

Air Force Times – By Wendell Minnick – Staff writer

TAIPEI — Bowing to Chinese pressure, the U.S. will deny Taiwan’s request for 66 new F-16C/D fighter aircraft, a Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said.

“We are so disappointed in the United States,” he said.

A Department of Defense delegation arrived here last week to deliver the news and offer instead a retrofit package for older F-16A/Bs that includes an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

The visit coincided with the biennial Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), held here Aug. 11-14.

“The U.S. Pentagon is here explaining what is in the upgrade package,” a U.S. defense industry source said at TADTE. “They are going to split the baby: no C/Ds, but the A/B upgrade is going forward.”

Sources said an official announcement of the decision is expected by month’s end.

But an official at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto U.S. Embassy, said “no decisions have been made,” while DoD officials declined to comment on their delegation’s mission.

The proposed upgrade package would make the 146 Taiwanese F-16A/Bs among the most capable variants of the aircraft, perhaps second only to the APG-80 AESA-equipped F-16E/Fs flown by the United Arab Emirates.

Originally requested by Taipei in 2009, the package would cost $4.2 billion, sources at TADTE said….

Siebert said the failure to release F-16C/Ds will weaken Lockheed Martin’s plans to extend the production line for the fighter.

“While Congress has been notified of Oman and Iraq’s desire for F-16s, the Taiwan order for 66 aircraft is very important to the long-term viability of the F-16 production to include the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin and the thousands of suppliers throughout the U.S.,” she said.

More than a few TADTE attendees said the Obama administration might reverse the decision as the 2012 presidential election approaches and political pressure for new jobs builds.

A June report by the Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic and financial analysis firm, estimated that Taiwan’s F-16C/D program would create more than 16,000 jobs and almost $768 million in U.S. federal tax revenue. Much of that tax revenue and new jobs would go to election battleground states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

But China holds about 8 percent of U.S. debt, the largest block in foreign hands.

As one TADTE attendee said, “Beijing’s Kung Fu is better than Washington’s.”…]

Related: (CSM) Obama forfeits respect in Asia by letting Taiwan down – hard

Analysis of the FY2012 Defense Budget

CSBA – By Todd Harrison • Studies

The FY 2012 budget requests a total of $676 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD). The base budget for DoD includes $553 billion in discretionary funding and $5 billion in mandatory funding, and an additional $118 billion is requested for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The budget request also includes $19 billion for defense-related atomic energy programs and $8 billion for defense-related activities in other agencies, bringing the total national defense budget to $703 billion. Separately, the budget includes $129 billion for veterans’ benefits and services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The FY 2012 request grows the base defense budget by 3.0 percent in real terms from the level enacted in FY 2011. The war funding requested for FY 2012 is 27 percent less than the amount enacted for FY 2011, bringing it to the lowest level seen since FY 2005.

The Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) submitted with the budget projects continued growth in the base defense budget through FY 2016, albeit at a slower rate than previously projected. The Department’s cumulative base budget over the FY 2012 FYDP is $78 billion less (in then-year dollars) than planned in the FY 2011 FYDP, a 2.6 percent reduction. While still allowing the base budget to grow, this represents the first significant reduction from one year’s FYDP to the next since FY 1996…

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