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Turkey to upgrade Pakistani F-16s

August 8, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - After the US began easing sanctions against Pakistan, Turkey will help by assisting in the upgrade of the air forces F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will upgrade 36 of Pakistan's block 15 A/B aircraft. The jets will receive a mid-life upgrade (MLU) that primarily involves replacement of avionics and structural modifications bringing them close to block 40 standards.

TAI was selected in favour of Belgium's SABCA and Netherland's Fokker who were also bidding for the contracted work. The upgrades have been given the green light by the US.

Under the deal, two or three Pakistani F-16s are expected to be upgraded at the TAI facilities in Turkey, while the rest will be upgraded in Pakistan, either at the Sargodha base or at the Pakistani Aeronautical complex, Kamra.