August 18, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The United States has released $ 116 million to finance mid-life upgrades for Pakistan's existing fleet of block 15 A/B aircraft.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will do the upgrade (MLU
) which primarily involves replacement of avionics and structural modifications bringing them close to block 40
The administration released the amount after completion of necessary process for shifting funds from foreign military financing, already allocated for the anti-terrorism South Asian ally.
The U.S. officials, commenting on the proposed re-allocation of funds last month, said jets upgrades would help enhance Pakistan
's counter-terrorism capability.
First disclosed last week, the plan has caused some unease in Congress, where legislators have questioned how the upgraded F-16s, widely seen as aimed at countering any threat from India, would be used against Al Qaeda and Taleban forces.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA
) recently also notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan of AN/ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) Pods.