Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan’s Air Force sidestepped speculation Tuesday that it is looking to purchase F-15 or F-18 fighter aircraft from the U.S., saying only that plans to bolster defense capabilities will depend on present combat needs and perceived future threats.
On Sunday, Taiwanese news website Up Media reported that the Air Force is planning to purchase the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet to strengthen its defense capabilities and counter China’s Russia-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft.
The report said Taiwan and the U.S. have had preliminary discussions about the purchase, and retired models such as the F-15C/D or new models like the F-15 2040c, the F-18E/F and the F-18XT have all been mentioned.
In response, the Air Force would neither confirm nor deny the speculation on Tuesday but said it was upgrading its military capabilities with the newest technology and based on present needs and future threats.
Regardless of the accuracy of the Up Media report, there has been a slight shift in Taiwan’s military defense strategy in the past year or two toward greater emphasis on strengthening the country’s Air Force and Navy to protect coastal areas.
The new emphasis, a departure from building up the Army as the top priority, was reflected in Taiwan’s latest National Defense Report released in late December, a source told local media.
(By Lu Hsin-hui and Kuan-lin Liu)