The Taiwan Strait's contested waterways will soon be joined by Upgraded American F-16s that are far more advanced than most Chinese aircraft. The sale of the new F-16s should give an edge to the Taiwanese airpower.

 The American U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin, soon followed by the Shandong on the water, soon followed the strait naval crossings. But in the air, Taiwan is jousting with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) that pits their current version of the Fighting Falcon in the air.

But their dated planes will be joined by a new buy from the U.S. government, the F-16V (Viper) in its Block 70/72. It is the most modern Fighting Falcon worth $62 billion, and the first deliveries come in 2022. This version is far better than the less advanced fighters of the PLAAF, reported Forbes.

 Having six squadrons of the top rate Vipers will give the J-11, J-16, and other Chinese fighters a run for their money. Taiwan's older 144-strong F-16A/B fleet will get souped-up to the F-16V type by 2023.

For starters, the F-16V is an advanced version of the venerable Fighting Falcon as the Block 70/72. The Taiwanese Airforce is not giving detail and keeping it under wraps, making some parties happy like Beijing.

 Block 70/72 is a multi-role

 Five countries are operating the F-16V, which are Taiwan, Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Morocco, who are pleased with its performance. There are even 128-units in Lockheed's back orders, making it a best-selling fighter. Its popularity assures that countries like Taiwan will have a steady supply of upgraded American F-16s for self-defense.

 Also read: Chinese Air Support Weakened by Only Three Aerial Tankers Compared to US in Taiwan Invasion

It is built ground up, not on older airframes; as many as 4,588 F-16s for the U.S. and foreign air forces have been built. They make Lockheed can use 3,300 carriage and release configurations for 180 weapon types for all fleets. It is one of the most versatile airframes for defense.

 Sources say that Taiwan will opt for the Block 70 F-16; both are different. The 70 will have an engine with a maximum of 32,500 pounds of thrust compared to the 72's (29,160 pounds) of thrust. Meaning the 70 will have a better engine. Chinese jet engines are notoriously underpowered.

 Another draw for the F-16V (70) is what it can pack to unload on targets. Current Republic of China (Taiwan) Falcon A/Bs have AIM-9 Sidewinders and long-range AIM-120 AMRAAMs. How many more air-to-air missiles is not known as of now. But more will be needed based on the strength of the PLAAF.

 One missile on the shopping list will be Lockheed Martin's AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), which is yet to be designated for the F-16V (70). The anti-ship missile will be useful for killing Chinese naval ships.

 It carries modern avionics that makes it a threat to Chinese planes, having advanced scanned-array radar (AESA), a new CPU on it. Added are Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System that will forestall any crashes. On it is the APG-81 used on the F-35 and the APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) for looking down at the strait and if any plane is attacking.

 Another plus is for extra drop tanks to increase the flying distance of the upgraded American F-16s. Viper as its code-name is apt for a capable fighter jet to guard the Taiwan strait.

 Related article: Taiwan Getting More Accurate Missiles to Arm F-16s and Sink the PLAN