Air Force, News block 50/52 F-16 aircraft, f-16, F-16 aircraft, F-16 block 50/52, F-16 deal, F-16 fighter aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-16 sale, F-16C, F-16C Fighter jets, F-16C Fighting Falcons, F-16C/D fighter, Fighting Falcon, Foreign Military Sales, George Little, Iraq F-16, Lockheed Martin F-16, Pentagon Press Secretary, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said on Sept 27th that the Iraqi government has transferred its first payment for 18 F-16C Fighting Falcons. This brings Iraq closer to independently securing its airspace.
“These aircraft will help provide air sovereignty for Iraq to protect its own territory and deter or counter regional threats,” Little said.
The F-16 fighter aircraft, he said, “are also a symbol of the commitment to a long-term strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.”
According to Little, the F-16s are the block 50/52 variant of the aircraft – the current production version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The sale is valued at about $3 billion. Such foreign military sales will be a cornerstone of future cooperation and support the development of a long-term cooperative security relationship with Iraq.
“Foreign military sales around the world, such as this purchase of F-16 aircraft,” the press secretary said, “strengthen our diplomatic and military relationships with our allies and supports American industry and jobs at home.”
The United States conducts foreign military sales with Iraq and fully supports Iraq’s efforts to purchase military equipment in line with its domestic spending priorities and in accordance with its budget laws and procedures, Little added.
Source: U.S. Air Force
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President Ma Ying-jeou and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt.
Taiwan’s Deputy Legislative Speaker Tseng Yung-chuan , a close ally of President Ma Ying-jeou, said on Monday he expects the US will agree only to upgrade the nation’s existing fleet of F-16 jets and not sell Taipei new ones. He said Taiwan has been grateful for US support for decades, but a decision against providing F-16C/D aircraft would “not be satisfactory.”
Two US senators who share that view introduced legislation on Monday demanding US President Barack Obama authorize sales of at least 66 of the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan.
By supplying the planes, the US would anger Beijing and would set back Washington’s efforts to improve its own relations with China.
While Tseng said he was not aware a formal decision on the planes had been conveyed to Taiwan, he said through an interpreter: “Based upon the current situation, it seems that the US is only going to upgrade the F-16A/B air fighters. Speaking for the legislature, this is not satisfactory.”
“These weapons are not going to be used for war. It’s purely based on the purpose of national defense,” he said.
Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US is legally required to provide Taiwan with arms for its self defense.
Source: Taipei Times
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The Obama administration has committed to deciding by Oct. 1 whether to allow the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 jets to Taiwan, according to an aide to Sen. John Cornyn.
China opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, and has tried to block sales of the F-16 airplanes to the island. Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has pressed the U.S. to speed up decision on the jets.
Taiwan’s request for F-16 C/D model jets has been pending since 2006 and upgrades of its older F-16 A/B models have been on hold.
The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council said the timing of the decision “suggests that the Obama administration has no intention” of approving the sale of new F-16 jets. The date is sandwiched between Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to China in August and Chinese President Hu’s expected trip to Hawaii, the group said.
“It doesn’t seem plausible that the Obama administration would stand up for Taiwan policy in the face of two such senior visits from China,” the group said in a news release.