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U.S. committed to Taiwan's F-16 retrofit program: official
Central News Agency
2014-03-15 10:13 AM
Washington, March 14 (CNA) A senior U.S. official said on Friday that Washington is committed to upgrading Taiwan's fleet of F-16 fighter jets despite U.S. Air Force's decision not to continue the program beyond 2014. "Potential cuts in U.S. Air Force (USAF) funding for the CAPES program will not negatively impact the Taiwan F-16 retrofit program," said Kin Moy, deputy assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. CAPES refers to the combat avionics programmed extension suite program. It is a USAF program to replace the avionics and radars for 300 US Lockheed Martin F-16s. In September 2011, the Obama administration decided to sell the same upgrades to Taiwan's fleet of around 150 F-16 A/Bs in a US$5.3 billion arms sales package. Due to budget constraints, however, the USAF has decided not to fund the CAPES program after fiscal year 2014, which will end on Sept. 30 this year. The decision has raised some doubt on the retrofit program for Taiwan's F-16s, which were purchased in the 1990s. Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Moy said that funding for the upgrades for Taiwan's fighter jets can be covered in Taiwan's current letter of offer and acceptance. "The U.S. Air Force F-16 program office has determined that the lack of U.S. Air Force participation beyond fiscal year 2014 will not have a significant impact on the Taiwan program," he said. "We certainly are committed to the F-16 retrofit program," he said in response to questions raised by Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-R). (By Tony Liao and Jay Chen)
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