Taiwan is likely to spend US$1.44 billion on fighter jets in 2022 despite its overall defence budget increasing only by US$67 million over 2021 to a total expenditure of US$16.89 billion, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company. GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Taiwan Defense Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2026’ reveals that Taiwanese defense expenditure is forecast to increase to US$18 billion by 2026 from the current US$16.22 billion.
William Davies, Associate Defence Analyst at GlobalData, said: “The commitment to buy more fighter jets, likely F-16’s, is in response to increased Chinese defence spending and provocation. The modernisation of Taiwan’s armed forces is the central driver of Taiwan’s defence expenditure. This purchase will be alongside building an indigenous diesel electric submarine and acquiring additional naval vessels including a replacement Kee Lung-class destroyer’ and new Landing Platform Docks.”
Taiwan faces ongoing problems in that its defence budget is dwarfed by that of China, which spent US$281 billion on defence in 2021. China is pursuing its ‘One China’ policy that seeks to integrate Taiwan into a province of the People’s Republic of China. Its military expansion and claims to the majority of the South China Sea are in pursuit of this aim. In recent years, China has increased its military exercises which included the deployment of warships and fighter jets close to Taiwan.
“Taiwan is reliant on the US military for support and the US accounted for 100 percent of defence imports between 2016 and 2020. The acquisition of fighter jets will bolster Taiwan’s air forces, but they will continue to be reliant on the US in the face of China’s ever growing military,” Davis said.