Short of funds, Pak decides to buy only 18 F-16s from US

April 23rd, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by admin  


Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): If diplomatic sources here are to be believed, due to intense financial constraints the new Pakistan government has decided to halve the number of F-16 fighter jets it had originally decided to buy from the US.

Pakistan had earlier agreed to buy 36 of these aircraft at a total cost of 5.1 billion dollars, which included associated weapons, spares and upgrading of an earlier fleet purchased in the 1980s. But, recently it decided to buy only 18 fighter jets.

The proposed fleet of 36 new F-16 Block 50/52 planes was to cost Pakistan three billion dollars while it was required to pay additional 650 million dollars for weapons.

The decision to reduce the order by half would also halve the cost of buying new F-16s and that of the weapons associated with them, reported the Dawn.

Pakistan, however, will still have to spend 1.3 billion dollars on mid-life update and modification of the F-16A/B aircraft purchased earlier. Engine modifications and purchasing some new equipment for the old fleet will cost Pakistan additional 151 million dollars.

The sources said the new aircraft will be fully equipped with weapons and facilities that come with an F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft. The planes will be capable of carrying nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.

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

The media stories that new aircraft will not have the facility to carry a nuclear weapon do not make sense, a US defence expert said and also pointed out that the French Mirage aircraft now with the PAF did not have such facilities when purchased. Pakistanis, however, modified the aircraft to make them nuclear capable.

Pakistans request for new planes and for the modification for its earlier fleet was put on hold after the October 2005 earthquake. (ANI)

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