The Taiwanese Air Force (ROCAF) has performed a “combat readiness” demonstration “to show its determination to defend the island” following China’s intense military exercises around Taiwan.
The fighters on display were the Lockheed Martin F-16V, Taiwan’s most up-to-date fighter jets. In a rare nighttime exercise, the ROCAF demonstrated the F-16V fighter’s payload with a US-made anti-ship missile AGM-84 Harpoon.
“The Ministry of National Defense showcased the F-16V fighter’s potential loading and night emergency take-off operation… as well as the ability and determination to defend its airspace security,” the air force outlined in a statement.
The F-16 is the backbone of the Taiwanese Air Force (ROCAF) fighter fleet. In 1992, as part of the Peace Fenghuang program, Taiwan placed an order for 150 F-16A/B-20 aircraft. Since then, the aircraft have been undergoing regular modernization. The fighter involved in the incident was one of those older airframes that had been brought to the Block 72 standard. In August 2020, another 66 new F-16 fighters were ordered from Lockheed Martin.
A recent visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island of Taiwan as part of her tour of the Indo-Pacific region has sparked military tensions between China and Taiwan because China claims the Taiwan island as its territory.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting intense military drills off Taiwan Strait, starting on July 30, 2022, with a live-fire exercise near Pingtan Island.