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Taiwan has requested the sale of 66 new F-16C/D aircraft, but even if that request is finally approved in 2011, its fighter aircraft force structure will still decline by 65 percent over the next decade, owing the state of the rest of its fleet,” the aide said. “This fact alone demonstrates that new sales will not affect the qualitative and quantitative military balance in Taiwan’s region, particularly as China fields more advanced, fifth-generation stealth fighters such as its J-20 over the next decade.”

Approval of the C/D jets now would ensure that deliveries can begin in 2014.

The aide noted that upgrading the older F-16s will require that up to a third of the Taiwan air force be taken out of service for modernization.
What will be included in the upgrade is not known.

The Pentagon’s latest annual report on the Chinese military says that China has 1,680 fighter aircraft, compared with 388 for Taiwan.