Jan 23, 2016

Despite Pressures From China, Taiwan Might Procure Harriers

Taiwan will have the opportunity to procure refurbished AV-8 Harrier Jump Jets as the US Marine Corps (USMC) begins replacing the aircraft with F-35B stealth fighters, said US government sources.
The Harriers will be offered to Taiwan through the Pentagon’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program under the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The AV-8 would fulfill Taiwan’s much-needed vertical and/or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) requirement. China is expected to destroy Taiwan’s air bases within the first few hours of a war with its estimated 1,400 short-range ballistic missile arsenal and the Harrier’s V/STOL capability will allow the Taiwan air force to maintain air operations by hiding the aircraft in the mountainous interior.
A US defense industry analyst working in Taiwan said that it was a “great idea,” but the USMC’s AV-8s are “too worn to be of much sustainable service value, at least not without some, probably very costly, structural rehabilitation and avionics upgrade.”
The Taiwan Air Force is not crazy about the AV-8 and there is tremendous pressure to continue efforts to secure procurement of the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) aircraft.

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