Taiwan's first F-16V combat squadron will be officially commissioned in a ceremony at the Air Force's Chiayi Base on Nov. 18, which will be presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (???), a military source told CNA on Thursday.
These F-16Vs are former F-16A/Bs that have been upgraded as part of a program launched by the Air Force in 2016 to retrofit all of its 141 F-16 A/Bs into F-16Vs, which are equipped with more advanced avionics, including APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a Helmet Mounted Cueing System, and other flight management and electronic warfare systems.
A military source familiar with the matter told CNA that the Air Force has already successfully upgraded at least 42 of the 141 F-16 A/B jet fighters to the new F-16V standards.
A commissioning ceremony for the newly upgraded F-16Vs was originally to be held at Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan in April but a domestic COVID-19 outbreak during that time forced the event to be postponed to a later date, the source said.
The military has decided that the ceremony will be held on Nov. 18, the source added.
Tsai will preside over the ceremony during which an aerial show and military parade will be held to mark the historic occasion, according to the source.
After commissioning, the 42 F-16Vs will be listed under the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing based in Chiayi.
The Air Force has previously said that the upgrading of all 141 F-16A/Bs will be completed by 2023.
In addition to the retrofit program that is still ongoing, Taiwan has also purchased 66 new F-16Vs from the United States, with delivery expected to start in 2023.
The 66 F-16Vs will be deployed at the Taitung Air Base in eastern Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel