Taiwan commissions upgraded F-16 squadron

Taiwan has officially commissioned its first squadron of upgraded F-16 fighter jets in a ceremony attended by President Tsai Ing-wen.

The ceremony was held on Thursday at Chiayi air base in southern Taiwan.

Sandra Oudkirk, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, was among those invited to the ceremony.

Tsai and Oudkirk posed for a photograph in front of the upgraded aircraft, in a show of US support for Taiwan's defense.

The commissioned jets are among the 141 F-16 jets of Taiwan's air force that are to be converted into advanced F-16Vs by 2023 with the help of US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The first combat squadron was officially launched after the number of retrofitted jets reached the required standard.

The upgraded aircraft have advanced radar capable of tracking multiple targets and are also equipped with longer-range missiles.

Taiwan is also planning to purchase 66 new F-16Vs under a deal approved by former President Donald Trump's administration.

Taiwan is moving fast to strengthen its deterrence at a time when Chinese military aircraft are frequently entering its air defense identification zone.