President Tsai Ing-wen unveiled Taiwan’s ambitious plans to develop the next generation of indigenous fighter jets. The move is part of the government’s broader commitment to bolster Taiwan’s autonomy in defence systems, signalling a strategic focus on advancing the nation’s military capabilities.
President Tsai did not provide specific details about the upcoming fighter jet program but emphasized the government’s determination to strengthen Taiwan’s defence industry. As a significant step in this direction, the government aims to commence the development of the next-generation fighter aircraft, solidifying its commitment to self-reliance in defence.
Under the existing defence autonomy plan, Taiwan is on track to receive 66 Brave Eagle advanced trainer aircraft by 2026, with 27 units already delivered. President Tsai stressed the importance of continuity in these defence initiatives, expressing hope that the succeeding president would uphold and support the ongoing development of the nation’s defence capabilities.
President Tsai, who is concluding her second and final term in May, reiterated the core of her defence policy – achieving defence autonomy for Taiwan. Emphasizing the significance of Taiwan’s commitment to self-defence, she noted that when other nations consider joining forces to safeguard Taiwan, the primary concern is Taiwan’s resolute dedication to its defence.
The government’s proactive efforts to fortify its defence systems aim not only to showcase capabilities but also to underscore the nation’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding its interests. President Tsai highlighted the pivotal role of defence autonomy in achieving this goal.
In addition to the fighter jet plans, President Tsai referenced Taiwan’s significant milestone in defence autonomy – the unveiling of the prototype of its first indigenous submarine, the Hai Kun, in September last year. The submarine construction, named “Narwhal,” represents a comprehensive effort requiring systematic design, integration capabilities, and a pool of skilled talent. The Hai Kun is expected to be delivered to the navy by the end of the year after completing testing.
During the interview, President Tsai also touched upon the complexities of cross-strait relations, acknowledging it as the most substantial challenge for every administration and president of Taiwan. She emphasized the need to navigate and mitigate risks, adopting the position of “maintaining the status quo” across the Taiwan Strait since taking office in 2016.
As Taiwan advances its defence capabilities with plans for next-generation fighter jets and indigenous submarines, the nation seeks to assert its autonomy and resilience in the face of evolving geopolitical dynamics.