Greenville-built F-16’s to Taiwan garner bipartisan praise

Support crosses party lines despite Beijing uproar and South Carolina's business in China

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Lockheed Martin F-16
An F-16 pilot from the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard, flies a training mission over the North Carolina coast. U.S. Air Force photo by SMSgt Thomas Meneguin.

Amid protests in China and with in-state companies like BMW and GE Aviation doing business in the Asian country, the U.S. Government has approved the sale of 66 Lockheed Martin fighter jets to Taiwan totaling $8 billion.

Although the aerospace and defense firm would not comment on the political ramifications of the deal, Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, supported the White House’s decision to authorize the purchase on Twitter while Democratic Representative, Joe Cunningham, sent a letter of support to President Trump. The letter included signatures from South Carolina’s entire Delegation. Read the letter here

In 2018, data compiled by the South Carolina Department of Commerce showed China was the state’s largest importing partner, totaling more than $7.2 billion. During that same year, China was also South Carolina’s top export partner at $5.6 billion.

While China has long-considered Taiwan, a “breakaway province”, Bloomberg reported last month China views any American involvement there an intrusion.

In the same report, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, warned “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”

The Chinese government urged the U.S. to refrain from selling the fighter jets to Taiwan, she continued. “Otherwise, the Chinese side will surely make strong reactions, and the U.S. will have to bear all the consequences.”

Lockheed Martin will build the F-16 Block 70 aircraft at their Greenville facility. As outlined by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the deal will include 66 fighters, 75 GE Aviation F110 engines, data links, 75 Northrop Grumman APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars, 75 electronic warfare suites, and other equipment, training and services related to the purchase.

 

About Greenville-built F-16’s to Taiwan garner bipartisan praise

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