ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: U.S. and Pakistani officials marked the latest chapter in the growth of the Pakistan Air Force with the delivery of three additional new F-16 aircraft to the Government of Pakistan from the United States during an induction ceremony today at Shahbaz Air Base near Jacobabad, Pakistan.
“These aircraft represent a significant increase in Air Force technology and capability for our strategic allies here in Pakistan,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Nagata, Deputy Commander of the Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan. “These deliveries are the culmination of many, many years of hard work, a great deal of patience, a great deal of labor and commitment that many people have contributed to make a day like this a reality.”
U.S. and Pakistani officials attending the ceremony included Air Marshal Mohammad Hassan, PAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Army Brig. Gen. Michael Nagata, deputy commander of the Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan.
Approximately 150 Pakistani and U.S. officials attended the event.
Hassan deemed the planes, “…a dream machine for the entire Pakistani nation.” In describing the impact that the aircraft will have, he remarked, “all these efforts…contribute directly toward maintaining peace in the region and also making our anti-terrorist efforts more meaningful and successful.”
The F-16 Block 52 represents the latest configuration of Lockheed Martin’s 4th generation multirole fighter, offering additional fuel and payload capacity, new or improved avionics and sensors, and color cockpit displays with enhanced pilot/vehicle interfaces. This is the second batch of new F-16s delivered; the first delivery of three took place June 27. Deliveries will continue with all 18 fighter aircraft arriving by January 2012.
In addition to the delivery of these new aircraft, the U.S. is working with the PAF to update 45 F-16s from its existing fighter fleet through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing security assistance program. When the updates are completed, these aircraft will have very similar capabilities to the new F-16s, to include advanced communications and a precision targeting system.
The first batch of updated F-16s is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in early 2012.