Wednesday, September 21, 2011

State Dept: 145 = 145 + 66

Here is the transcript. Note the strange math there:
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:

I do not, but it's before the end of the week. Assuming -- so let me start this again.

Assuming the reports leaked about the proposal to refurbish F-16s are true -- and that obviously can't be confirmed even on background until a formal congressional notification later this week -- weapons sales to Taiwan since 2009 will be greater than in the previous four years, and they will be double the sales that occurred between 2004 and 2008.

And assuming the decision is to upgrade F-16 A/B, they will provide essentially the same quality as new F-16 C/D aircraft at a far cheaper price. And Taiwan would stand to get 145 A/Bs versus only 66 C/Ds. And we're obviously prepared to consider further sales in the future.

In addition, the Administration has taken strong steps to deepen relations with Taiwan» in concrete ways beyond this dossier, including Visa Waiver Program, education initiatives, «trade» and energy initiatives, and helping «Taiwan to have more access to international fora like the World Health Organization.
Yes, that's right, 145 upgraded planes is equal to 145 planes plus 66 new and better planes (nothing stops the US from selling upgrade packages along with new aircraft). Sure.... But it is clear what the decision is, though they piously did not rule out selling planes to Taiwan in the future. The official also awarded the Administration credit for the old arms package that was finally delivered a couple of years ago. Puh-lease.

As Josh Rogin at The Cable noted in his remarks today, the Administration is taking a lot of heat for this decision. Sen. Coryn of Texas continued his legislative push for F-16 sales, helpful to his constituents and Lockheed, a major donor.

UPDATE: Reuters has a list of the electronics and equipment for the upgrade, which actually does make the A/B models far better weapons platforms.
A U.S.-based expert on Taiwan's military who asked not to be named said the air-to-air hardware included "basically everything" Taipei had sought, including the latest version of heat-seeking Raytheon Co AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and all-weather-capable AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missiles, or AMRAAM.


The deal also includes state-of-the-art active, electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar, said the expert who spoke anonymously to protect access to sensitive information.
But numbers count too. 145 better aircraft are not the same as 211 better aircraft.

COMMENT: dragged up from the depths of the comment stream: HaHa
Michael, you have a typo in your title. The State Department appears to be saying that 145 > 145 + 66, not equals. After all, it's cheaper! By that logic, 0 upgrades and no new planes would be best of all.
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael, you have a typo in your title. The State Department appears to be saying that 145 > 145 + 66, not equals. After all, it's cheaper! By that logic, 0 upgrades and no new planes would be best of all.

les said...

Am I alone in thinking this is a negotiated win-win deal between Washington, Beijing and KMT?
US benefits with some sales and appearing to support a democratic ally.
Matong gets to present himself as Taiwan's defender to those who haven't realized he's selling them out.
Beijing benefits because Taiwan didn't get new planes and they are still going to get their hands on the technology when KMT hands it over.

Stefan said...

Ok, so if the upgrade makes C/D out of A/B, then he argues that 145 C/D are better than 145 A/B + 66 C/D.

That math would be correct if an upgraded plane is about twice as good as an existing plane. I don't know much about these planes, could the value of the upgrade be so high?