USA/Pakistan — Delivery of New F‑16s to Pakistan Shows Deepening Relations

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2010 — The Air Force is set to deliv­er the first of 18 new F‑16 Fight­ing Fal­con jet fight­ers to the Pak­istani air force in a sign of deep­en­ing rela­tions between the Unit­ed States and Pak­istan.

F-16 C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon jet fighters
The Air Force is set to deliv­er the first of 18 new F‑16 C/D Block 52 Fight­ing Fal­con jet fight­ers to the Pak­istan air force. The air­craft will give Pakistan’s mil­i­tary an unprece­dent­ed advan­tage against vio­lent extrem­ists who threat­en Pak­istan and the region, offi­cials said, by enabling pre­ci­sion tar­get­ing in all weath­er con­di­tions, day and night.
U.S. Air Force pho­to
Click to enlarge

Three F‑16s are sched­uled to arrive in Pak­istan on June 26, with 15 more to be deliv­ered lat­er this year and next, Air Force Maj. Todd Rob­bins, the Pak­istan coun­try direc­tor in the office of the under­sec­re­tary of the Air Force for inter­na­tion­al affairs, said in an inter­view with Amer­i­can Forces Press Service. 

“This is the most vis­i­ble part of a strong and grow­ing rela­tion­ship between the two air forces that will ben­e­fit us both near-term and long-term,” Rob­bins said. 

This sale of F‑16s to Pak­istan renews new air­craft sales that exist­ed between the Unit­ed States and Pak­istan in the 1980s, but were halt­ed in the 1990s. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and oth­er U.S. mil­i­tary and civil­ian lead­ers have spo­ken out about “not repeat­ing the mis­takes” of the U.S. halt in rela­tions with Pak­istan in the late 1980s and ear­ly 1990s. In March, the Unit­ed States and Pak­istan held their first min­is­te­r­i­al-lev­el strate­gic dia­logue here, co-chaired by Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Pak­istan For­eign Min­is­ter Makhdoom Shah Mah­mood Qureshi. High-lev­el offi­cials from both gov­ern­ments par­tic­i­pat­ed in the dia­logue, includ­ing Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Gates said then that the talks includ­ed dis­cus­sion of “how we can help Pak­istan in deal­ing with the secu­ri­ty chal­lenges that face them, but also face us and NATO as well.” 

The two coun­tries held fol­low-up meet­ings in Pak­istan in ear­ly June that focused on improv­ing mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tions and secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion, offi­cials said. 

Rela­tions with Pak­istan improved after Sept. 11, 2001, Rob­bins said, “and this is just one very tan­gi­ble exam­ple of the cur­rent­ly strong and grow­ing rela­tion­ship between the U.S. Air Force and the Pak­istan air force and, in the larg­er con­text, between the Unit­ed States and Pakistan.” 

The F‑16 is a mul­ti­role jet fight­er sold to 24 coun­tries around the world, accord­ing to its man­u­fac­tur­er, Lock­heed Mar­tin. The 18 being sold to Pak­istan are the Block 52 ver­sions of the air­craft, Rob­bins said, which will give Pak­istan new capa­bil­i­ties, includ­ing day-night, all-weath­er and pre­ci­sion-attack capabilities. 

“They’ve not had [these capa­bil­i­ties] before, so this is a major mile­stone in the U.S. pro­vid­ing this capa­bil­i­ty, which old­er mod­els [of F‑16s] don’t have,” he said. “This will enable them to strike ter­ror­ists with­in their bor­ders while help­ing them to avoid col­lat­er­al dam­age. It’s an increase in capa­bil­i­ties that are ben­e­fi­cial to us all.” 

Pak­istan is pay­ing $1.4 bil­lion for the 18 new air­craft, in addi­tion to $1.3 bil­lion in upgrades to its exist­ing F‑16 fleet, which are to begin being deliv­ered in 2012, Rob­bins said. 

The Air Force also is train­ing Pak­istan air force pilots. The first eight recent­ly com­plet­ed train­ing with the Ari­zona Nation­al Guard in Tuc­son, with addi­tion­al train­ing done by Lock­heed Mar­tin, Rob­bins said. The Air Force also is train­ing Pak­ista­nis in night-attack train­ing and recent­ly com­plet­ed train­ing for four instruc­tors and five flight leads, he said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →