Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its air force, as the self-ruled island steps up its defense capabilities in the face of continuing threats from China, which claims it as part of its territory.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen commissioned into service 64 upgraded F-16V “Viper” fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi on Thursday. The aircraft are part of Taiwan’s 141 F-16 A/B jets, an older model from the 1990s that will be completely retrofitted by the end of 2023.
Tsai said the upgrade project showed the strength of Taiwan’s cooperation with the United States defense industry. It comes at a time the island’s status has become a major point of tension in the U.S.-China relationship.