Not content with a White House decision to sell Taiwan upgrades to its existing F-16s, Lockheed Martin is equipping congressmen to argue for the sale, long requested by Taipei, of brand new planes. From Reuters:
A Lockheed Martin official last week emailed an unsigned memo to lawmakers on Capitol Hill titled “Taiwan — The Benefit of New F-16 C/Ds,” two congressional staff members said ….
The Lockheed memo included “rebuttal points” to what Lockheed called the expected conclusion of a Pentagon report that the administration could use to try to defuse criticism of its decision not to release new F-16s to Taiwan.
Lockheed Martin neither confirmed nor denied having circulated the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. It said a sale of F-16s would benefit not only the company but generate more than 16,000 jobs in the United states over five to six years, citing a study it had commissioned.
The existing agreement, worth over $5 billion, has already prompted a characteristically unenthusiastic response from Beijing.