December 6, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The U.S. Air Force is awarding Lockheed Martin a $144.1 million contract for materials that will be used in advanced F-16 fighter aircraft bound for Pakistan, the U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday.
PAF F-16A block 15 #84710 from the 9th sqn is passing by the camera at Konya AB during exercise Anatolian Eagle held there in June of 2006. [Photo by Emin Fýndýklý
As part of a potential $5.1 billion package, the United States has agreed to sell Pakistan
up to 36 new F-16C/D block 52
aircraft together with refurbished F-16s. An arms package is also on offer as part of the deal.
Work is scheduled to be completed by November 2010.
As part of the $144 million contract to Lockheed Martin $78 million has been awarded for long-lead tasks related to the production of 18 new block 52 F-16 aircraft.
The Pakistani Daily Times quoted Pakistan Air Chief Air Marshal Rashad Kaleem saying that the US will begin providing the F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan as of December 2008.
Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul recentli said that Turkish Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI) will handle the upgrade and modernization of Pakistan's F-16s.
Earlier this year, the governments of Pakistan and the United States signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA
) agreeing to the purchase of 18 Block 52 F-16s. The LOA provides Pakistan an option for an additional 18 aircraft.