May 13, 2021 (by Bjorn Claes) - After a stay of over 20 years in the United States for training purposes Taiwanese jets are returning home to be upgraded to the F-16V configuration.
RoCAF F-16A block 20 #93-0707 from the 21st FS seen landing at Luke AFB on March 24th, 2008. [Photo by Jason Hyatt]
Since the very start of the F-16 deliveries to the RoCAF
(Republic of China
Air Force/Taiwan) a large number of airframes remained in the United States for training purposes. These started back in 1996 with the 21st Fighter Squadron (Gamblers) stationed at Luke AFB
. With the Taiwanes F-16V program taking up some pace now, already upgraded jets are being flown in to replace the ones still in need of the upgrade.
Last Thursday six jets (#6604
) were flown back from Luke AFB to Hualien AB. This means still seven jets currently remain with the 21st FS
). These jets will also be traded in for 'new' jets in the near future. The squadron will also move from Luke AFB to Tucson IAP in the near future. Luke AFB is to become an F-35 only base and therefore all other activities need to be relocated to other places. Although this move was already envisioned back in December of 2016, it is foreseen to actually happen in the course of 2021.
Combined with the 'upgrade' of the current jets Taiwan
has also ordered 66 new F-16V's. A delivery schedule for these is still unknown.