The administration of President Trump has sent an advisory notice to Congress saying that it plans to supply 66 new F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan.
These jets are the first new American planes being supplied to Taiwan since the sale of F-16 A/B aircraft (Block 20) in the year 1992 by the administration of George HW Bush. This depicts part of the strategic shift which is very significant for the region.
The shift began with the earlier decision of upgrading the 144 older F-16s of Taiwan to the F-16V standard which is a project called Phoenix Rising and is currently underway and it is expected to be completed by the year 2023. Where the older F-16s will not have the higher thrust engines as well as other aerodynamic improvements that the new F-16V aircraft has, both shall be sharing the same electronics, particularly the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar which is in compatibility with the F-35s that are operated by the Air Force, Navy and Marines of the United States.
The F-35 is a stealth aircraft and Taiwan had requested the United States for the variant of F-35B short takeoff-vertical landing (STOVL). While the F-35B does not possess the range of the F-16, it does, however, have the potential to solve a problem which concerns the Air Force planners of Taiwan: what to do in case the airfields of Taiwan are successfully attacked by China and putting them out of commission.
The F-35B was demanded because it had the ability to take off as well as land on very short runways, which meant that China would be faced with a problem in trying to liquidate the short airfields of Taiwan that are scattered around the island.