March 28, 2010 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pakistan has been negotiating to get another lot of 14 F-16 block 52 aircraft, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said Saturday.
PAF F-16D block 52 #10801 spotted on final approach into NAS Fort Worth on November 6th, 2009. [Photo by Keith Robinson
Briefing the media at Air Headquarters, Suleman said he was hoping to get 14 F-16 jets in addition to the 18 the U.S. already committed to.
According to the Air Chief, the 18 'Peace Drive I' aircrafts will come to Pakistan
in batches of four or so, while 42 earlier bought F-16 are being upgraded in Turkey
, a project which should be completed by 2014.
Early 2010, the United States approved the delivery of 12 Lockheed Martin F-16C and 6 F-16D planes, scheduled to begin from June 2010.
In 1990, the U.S. halted the production of a third and fourth batch of F-16s ordered by Pakistan, due to it's nuclear weapons program. 40 F-16A/B aircraft had been delivered under the Peace Gate I and II programs, however none of the Peace Gate III and IV aircraft were delivered.
However, in 2005, Pakistan, received clearance to go ahead with an order for additional F-16s, which was considered to be a reward to General Pervez Musharraf's support for the war on terror.
This delivery to Pakistan will bring its inventory of the planes to 54. If a new deal is approved, Pakistan's arsenal of F-16s, including refurbished fighters, will amount to 79, defense officials said. Pakistan has been operating F-16s since 1982.