On Monday, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified lawmakers that the U.S. Department of State had approved a possible sale of military aircraft replacement parts for Taiwan. The sale, if finalized, would represent the second significant arms package for Taiwan in two years by the Trump administration.
Taiwan, through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, its de facto embassy in the United States, “requested a Foreign Military Sales Order (FMSO) II to provide funds for blanket order requisitions, under a Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement for stock replenishment supply of standard spare parts, and repair/replace of spare parts,” the DSCA notice notes.
The parts will support Taiwan’s “F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support.” The total expected cost of the package is $330 million.
The Republic of China Air Force has an inventory of 87 F-5s, 144 F-16s, 128 IDFs (also known as the F-CK-1C/B/C/D Ching Kuo), among other platforms. It additionally operates one C-130H Hercules modified for electronic warfare use and 19 others as transports.
The United States does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan under its ‘One China’ policy, which was first stated in 1972. In 1979, U.S. formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) ended and Washington recognized Beijing as the sole government of China. Today, the United States nevertheless supports Taipei under the aegis of the Taiwan Relations Act, which outlines a substantial range of support measures for Taiwan short of diplomatic recognition.
The DSCA notification came at the start of a difficult week for U.S.-China relations, coinciding with the implementation of a new round of U.S. tariffs in an escalating trade war between the two countries. In response to those tariffs, China canceled a round of bilateral trade talks scheduled for this week.
Separately, last week, China had lashed out at the United States after the Trump administration made a decision to enforce sanctions on the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Equipment Development Department (EDD) under the requirements of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). CAATSA requires the United States to sanction entities doing business with Russian military experts.
Last year, the Trump administration approved a major arms package for Taiwan worth more than $1 billion. It included Early Warning Radar Surveillance Technical Support, AGM-154C Joint Stand-off Weapon, AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, MK 48 6AT Heavy Weight Torpedoes, MK 46 to MK-54 Torpedo Upgrade, SM-2 Missile Components, and the AN/SLQ-32A Electronic Warfare Shipboard Suite Upgrade.