Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration’s $5.3 billion plan to upgrade older Taiwanese F-16 fighters has cleared its 30-day congressional review, according to a committee spokesman.
The review period passed Oct. 21 with no opposition, said House Foreign Affairs Committee spokesman Brad Goehner. The formal contract, or letter of acceptance, still needs to be negotiated and signed, he said. Congress has 30 days to approve or attempt to block a proposed arms sale by a “resolution of disapproval.”
Foreign military sales often take years to complete. Congress in 2008 approved what was then a potential $6.95 billion sale of Lockheed Martin Corp. Thaad anti-missile interceptors to the United Arab Emirates. The U.S., the company and the UAE are still negotiating the final contract.
Retrofitting 145 F-16 A/B models is part of a package including Raytheon Co. advanced radar, Boeing Co. GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Northrop Grumman Corp. Litening laser guidance pods and training, the Pentagon said Sept. 21.
Taiwan said it needs new jets to replace an aging fleet as China deploys missiles across the strait separating the civil war foes as part of Asia’s biggest military spending program. The White House, though, didn’t approve the sale of new aircraft.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responding to the upgrade announcement, urged the U.S. to withdraw its offer, spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in comments posted on the ministry’s website. U.S. “wrong actions” will damage China-U.S. relations and military ties, he said.
--Editors: Bob Drummond, Don Frederick
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