F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Details of the potential sale to Pakistan

July 5, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Last week U.S. Congress was notified of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan F-16 aircraft as well as associated equipment and services. Here is a detailed list of this potential sale along with some of the controversies it might create.

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Congress technically has 30 days to veto the $5.1bn arms deal with Islamabad but it has never exercised that power on a major arms sale yet.

The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of:

Item 1: 36 New F-16 Block 50/52s - $3 billion

The package for Pakistan's new F-16s also includes:
  • 36 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft with either the F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines (IPEs) and APG-68(V)9 radars;
  • 7 spare F100-PW-229 IPE or F110-GE-129 IPE engines;
  • 7 spare APG-68(V)9 radar sets;
  • 36 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS);
  • 36 AN/ARC-238 SINCGARS radios with HAVE QUICK I/II;
  • 36 Conformal Fuel Tanks (pairs) that fit along the aircraft's sides to give them extra range;
  • 36 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals; DID has covered the tactical uses of MIDS-LVT Link 16 systems;
  • 36 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems;
  • 36 APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Systems;
  • 36 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites without Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM); or AN/ALQ-184 Electronic Counter Measures pod without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-131 Electronic Counter Measures pod without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-187 Advanced Self-Protection Integrated Suites without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-178 Self-Protection Electronic Warfare Suites without DRFM;
  • 1 Unit Level Trainer;

Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, capability to employ a wide variety of munitions, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to ensure full program supportability.

The principal contractors will be:
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX;
  • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Dallas, TX;
  • BAE Advanced Systems Greenlawn, NY;
  • Boeing Corporation Seattle, WA;
  • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems: St Louis, MO; Long Beach, CA; San Diego, CA;
  • Raytheon Company: Lexington, MA; Goleta, CA;
  • Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ;
  • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX;
  • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD;
  • United Technology Company subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT; or
  • General Electric Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, OH. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical review/support and program management of the aircraft.

Item 2: Weapons for F-16C/D Block 50/52 Aircraft - $650 Million

The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of:
  • 500 AIM-120C5 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM);
  • 12 AMRAAM training missiles
  • these have seeker warheads, but lack engines;
  • 200 AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinder Short-Range Air-Air Missiles; they are the version before the fifth-generation AIM-9X;
  • 240 LAU-129/A Launchers
  • these support AMRAAM or Sidewinder missiles;
  • 500 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Guidance Kits: GBU-31/38 Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) kits;
  • 1600 Enhanced-GBU-12/24 GBUs;
  • 800 MK-82 500 pound General Purpose (GP) and MK-84 2,000 pound GP bombs;
  • 700 BLU-109 2000 pound bunker-buster bombs with the FMU-143 Fuse; and,
  • Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, capability to employ a wide variety of munitions, spares, and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications, and technical documentation, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to ensure full program supportability will also be provided.

  • The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $650 million.

    The principal contractors will be:
    • BAE Advanced Systems in Greenlawn, NY;
    • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX;
    • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX;
    • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX; and,
    • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical review/support, program management, and modification of the aircraft.

    Item 3: F-16A/B Mid-Life Update Modification Kits - $1.3 billion

    The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of 60 F-16A/B Mid-Life Update (MLU) modification and Falcon Star Structural Service Life Enhancement kits consisting of:

    • APG-68(V)9 with Synthetic Aperture Radar or the APG-66(V)2 radar;
    • Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS);
    • AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Systems;
    • AN/ALE-47 Advanced Countermeasures Dispenser Systems;
    • Have Quick I/II Radios;
    • Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT);
    • SNIPER (formerly known as AN/AAQ-33 PANTERA) targeting pod capability;
    • Reconnaissance pod capability;
    • Advanced Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Units (for training);

    MDE included in the MLU modification and structural upgrade kits;
    • 21 ALQ-131 Block II Electronic Countermeasures Pods without the Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM); or ALQ-184 Electronic Countermeasures Pods without DRFM;
    • 60 ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management Systems;
    • 1 Unit Level Trainer;
    • 10 APG-68(V)9 spare radar sets.

    Also included are radars, modems, receivers, installation, avionics, spare and repair parts, support equipment, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, publications and technical documentation, system drawings, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, and other related logistics elements necessary for full program support.

    The estimated cost is $1.3 billion.

    According to the DSCA, Pakistan intends to purchase the MLU Program equipment "to enhance survivability, communications connectivity, and extend the useful life of its F-16A/B fighter aircraft. The modifications and upgrades in this proposed sale will permit Pakistan's F-16A/B squadron to operate safely and enhance Pakistan's conventional deterrent capability. Pakistan's air fleet can readily use these updates to enhance and extend the life of its aircraft."

    The principal contractors will be:
    • BAE Advanced Systems in Greenlawn, NY;
    • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX;
    • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX;
    • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX; and,
    • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD.


    Item 4: F-16A/B Engine Modifications & UP/STAR - $151 Million

    The third contract involves Engine Modifications and Falcon UP/STAR Structural Upgrades as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $151 million.

    More specifically, the Government of Pakistan has requested engine improvements and structural modifications to its F-16 fleet, which includes a possible sale of:
    • 14 F100-PW-220E engines;
    • 14 Falcon UP/STAR F-16 structural upgrade kits;
    • De-modification and preparation of 26 aircraft;
    • Support equipment;
    • Software development/integration;
    • Modification kits;
    • Spares, and repair parts;
    • Flight test instrumentation;
    • Publications and technical documentation;
    • Personnel training and training equipment;
    • U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to support the program.

    The principal contractors will be:
    • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX; and,
    • United Technology Company subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT.


    Potential Controversies

    The DSCA has said that "Release of this system would not significantly reduce India's quantitative or qualitative military advantage". India disagrees and military experts in Delhi will likely note that the same equipment (GPS, targeting pods, bunker-busters) that could potentially find uses against al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan's "lawless frontier" could also be used in precision strikes on India's military facilities in the event of war.

    The DSCA counters that release of the F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft to Pakistan "will neither affect the regional balance of power nor introduce a new technology as this level of capability or higher already exists in other countries in the region". India does operate more advanced SU-30MKI aircraft with R-77 "AMRAAMski" missiles, advanced avionics, et. al.; these are superior in range, armament, and maneuverability to Pakistan's F-16s and will remain so. Meanwhile, India's $7-10 billion MRCA competition is certain to introduce 125-200 aircraft that are certain to be more advanced than the F-16 Block 50/52.

    The U.S. DSCA adds in its submission to Congress that "The modification of the engines and Falcon UP/STAR structural updates will provide capable F-16s that can be used for close air support in ongoing operations contributing to the GWOT." The DSCA also cites the June 2004 designation of Pakistan as a Major Non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ally in its submission. The British commander of NATO's ISAF force in Southern Afghanistan sees Pakistan's role in a rather different light, however; he recently noted that al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is still run out of Pakistan (specifically Quetta), with Pakistani knowledge and even support from Islamist elements in its security apparatus. Ah, the dynamics of counter-insurgency in tribal societies. Pakistan angrily denies this, of course.

    India's objections to this sale have been muted thus far, and phrased carefully to emphasize their effect on India-Pakistan ties rather than India-U.S. ties. Meanwhile, President Bush's personal diplomacy approach has fostered a strong relationship with Gen. Musharraf that is inclined to view such requests favourably as part of the U.S.A.'s 3-corner balancing act in the region. Barring unusual circumstances, therefore, it's reasonable to expect this sale to go through with little more than a concerned speech or two in Congress.


    Courtesy of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)