Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. July 11 on forming a strategic partnership to explore business opportunities stemming from an upgrade to the island’s F-16 A/B fighter jets.
The two companies said they hope to jointly carry out the refitting project and component manufacturing in Taiwan.
The memorandum was signed by AIDC President Butch Hsu and Ana M. Wugofski, Lockheed vice president of international business development, at the Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K.
AIDC spokesman Mike Lee said that as Lockheed is the original manufacturer of the F-16s, the inking of the agreement would allow the retrofitting to be carried out in Taiwan if Lockheed wins the bid for the project. “This would create a lot of jobs in Taiwan,” he added.
According to Lee, Lockheed recently sent personnel to Taiwan to evaluate AIDC and concluded that it is the only aerospace company in Taiwan with the capacity to carry out the upgrading project.
The state-owned AIDC said it is actively seeking the support of the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs for the establishment of the required maintenance center and joint component production.
“We hope to combine the efforts of affiliated domestic industries and build a world-class F-16 maintenance center, so as to elevate Taiwan’s ability to conduct its own repairs,” Lee said.