Taiwanese military leaders have for years yearned for an opportunity to buy America’s fifth-generation advanced fighter jet, but the latest campaign to acquire the F-35 has reportedly been abandoned.
However, Taiwan’s United Daily News reported Wednesday that the government is still hoping to acquire 66 of a newer version of the F-16 fighters.
Meanwhile, it was also reported on Wednesday that Japan is looking at a massive purchase of 100 F-35s to add to its current arsenal. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese government plans to approve the purchase in mid-December, which will be in addition to an order already on the books for 42 of the air-superiority jets.
In both cases, the neighbors of the People’s Republic of China are looking to keep pace with the mainland’s military advances.
The deal for Japan to acquire the additional F-35s is also part of plans to refurbish the country’s largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, to accommodate fighter jets. The 42 jets already on order are the F-35A traditional take-off and landing version, while the new order will include vertical take-off and landing F-35Bs that can be used on the Izumo.
The planned purchase also comes as US President Donald Trump pressures America’s trading partners to step up imports of US goods.