Taiwan pushing for procurement of F-35 planes from the U.S.
Taiwan officials have told their U.S. counterparts they will be submitting a letter of request to purchase F-35 jets.
TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taiwan is preparing to submit a letter of request to the United States to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
Taiwanese defense officials informed the U.S. at the Monterey Talks in Hawaii, according to the Taipei Times.
U.S. officials told the Taiwanese delegation that Trump's administration would not be able to sell Taiwan the fighters, according to an anonymous Taiwan government source, the Taipei Times reported.
National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General York Chen told the U.S. delegation in Hawaii that Taiwan was still interested in acquiring the fighter.
Taiwan has expressed interest in the F-35B variant, which is capable of vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings, the Diplomat reported. Having this capability would mean that Taiwan could still get jets into the air if China were to attack and destroy runways across the island.
Compared to the F-35A, the B variant has a smaller fuel tank by about a third to accommodate for the vertical flight components.
The F-35B has a maximum speed of mach 1.6, a combat radius of 833 kms and a maximum range of 1,667 kms. It is capable of carrying a 6,800 kg weapons payload. The aircraft has a 7.0 maximum g-rating.
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