October 4, 2005 (by MKopack) - Pakistan will buy 77 F-16 jets from the U.S. which Washington will acquire from a third country, after they are fitted with the state-of-the-art equipment, Islamabad's Ambassador to America Gen (retd) Jehangir Karamat said.
PAF F-16A block 15 #84705 showing off the typical Pakistani camouflage scheme. [PAF photo by Usman Shabbir]
While the supply itself will be made by the U.S., the F-16s will be acquired from a third country. The upgrade and preparation of the equipment however, is to be carried out by Lockheed Martin.
According to Islamabad, the American government has already approved the deal and will present it to the U.S. Congress in October and November.
Islamabad's Ambassador also said that besides approving the F-16 deal with Pakistan
, the U.S. would provide it with 20 state-of-the-art Cobra helicopters.
Last year, the U.S. had initially proposed to sell 24 F-16s, each costing around $40 million.
According to Karamat, Pakistan will be given two F-16s by December followed by supply of 20 in 2006 and the rest 55 in 2007.
, which has about 30 F-16s acquired in the 1980s, is currently modernising its aged fleet by buying used French-made Mirages as well as jointly producing the F-7 Thunder with China. The PAF has also procured several Mirage fighters from Libya.