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Pakistan reduces order to 18 new F-16s

April 23, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - The Dawn newspaper is reporting that Pakistan has decided to halve the number of new F-16C/D block 52 jets it's buying from the US due to financial constraints.

PAF F-16B block 15 #82603 is touching down on the runway at Lajes AFB on its way from Pakistan to the US for its MLU conversion. [Photo by Fabio Rocha]

Pakistan had originally agreed to purchase 36 F-16C/D block 52 at a total cost of $3 billion & additional $650 million for associated weapons.

However the $1.3 billion Mid-Life Update (MLU) modification of the existing F-16A/B block 15 fleet purchased back in the 1980's remains unaffected. Engine modifications and purchasing some new equipment will cost Pakistan additional $151 million. When upgraded the modified jets will be fully equipped with weapons and facilities that come with an F-16 Block 52 aircraft.

Defence experts told the Dawn that media stories saying the new F-16s will not have nuclear capabilities did not make sense. The source pointed out that when the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) received French Mirages they did not have the capability to carry nuclear weapons. However Pakistan was able to modify them to do so.

The United States will, however, have the right to conduct frequent inspections and inventory checking.

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