The sale of FX aircraft to Taiwan

by Janice M. Hinton

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The Reagan Administration on January 11, 1982, announced its decision to deny the Nationalist Government of China's request for aircraft superior to the F-5E Tiger. Instead, the United States granted permission to the Northrop Corporation to extend its ten-year agreement with Taiwan beyond 1983 for continued coproduction of the F-5E. The U.S. government chose among four options of approving for sale the F-5G, the F-16/J79, more F-5E planes, or no aircraft. This paper studies several factors which were probably considered in making the decision: the defense needs of Taiwan in relation to combat performance and costs of the two FX aircraft under consideration, and the importance of China's response to the decision.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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