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TAI delivers first upgraded PAF F-16

February 8, 2012 (by Asif Shamim) - Turkey's center of aerospace, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), has delivered the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) its first upgraded F-16 (#90617) as part of the Peace Drive II modernization program.

Two PAF Bravo's, #90952 and #92452, who were embargoed and stored at AMARC, now flying again [USAF photo]

The first PAF F-16 aircraft, completed modernization and flight tests and was delivered to PAF at a ceremony held at TAI on 8 February 2012.

In attendance were the Turkish Deputy Minister of Defense Mr. Hasan Kemal Yardımcı, Pakistan Ambassador to Turkey HE Muhammad Shaukat Haroon, Pakistan Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Mshl. Asim Suleiman, Turkish Armed Forces Foundation General Manager Mr. Hayrettin Uzun and Undersecretary for Defense Industries Mr. Murad Bayar as well as many military and civilian high level representatives.

The Peace Drive II program was signed with Pakistan Ministry of Defense in June 2009, with work starting in October 2010 and planned completion by September 2014.

Under the program, TAI's engineers and technicians will perform avionics and structural modernization of a total of 41 F-16 aircraft that are in the inventory of Pakistan Air Force. The test flights of each modernized aircraft will also be performed by TAI's F-16 Test Pilots.

The required parts, material and technical data are furnished to TAI in accordance with another contract between US Government and PAF.

TAI will also provide classroom and on-the-job training for 72 PAF technicians. Upon completion of their trainings, the technicians will directly participate in the ongoing modernization activities at TAI.

TAI, which was established for co-production of F-16 aircraft for the Turkish Air Force in 1984, is one of the major aerospace companies in the world at F-16 manufacturing and modernization. After manufacturing and delivering a total of 272 F-16s, TAI, which has successfully completed avionics and structural modernization of F-16s of the Royal Jordanian Air Force and is currently modernizing 175 F-16s for the Turkish Air Force.