ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has acquired one squadron of F-16 multi-role fighter aircraft from Jordan and 13 F-16s will be inducted into the service next month.
With this, the strength of PAF F-16s will reach 76. The fighter aircraft have been purchased from Jordan and they were in the use of the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF).
The deal has already been finalised and inked by both the countries. The 13 aircraft are of F-16 A/B Block-15 and the PAF has similar aircraft in its fleet which are flying satisfactorily. The deal about 12 A models and one B model aircraft has been authenticated by the manufacturing company and the US government has also given its nod for the sale/purchase of the planes.
Well-placed defence sources told The News here the other day that the purchased aircraft were in good condition since they had attained Mid-Life Update (MLU) and they would be providing service for another 20 years with almost 3,000 hours on average available to them for flying.
They have been modified into Air Defence Fighters (ADF) versions. The Ogden Air Logistics Centre performed structural upgrades to extend the aircraft life from the designed 4,000 to 8,000 hours flying time as part of the programme. They also modified the aircraft engine bay for the upgraded Pratt and Whitney F100-220E engine. The induction of the planes will give a boost in air power to the PAF that is rendering a remarkable service in the war against terror.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt, visited Jordan last year for pursuing the sale of the aircraft. He and officials concerned of the countries had hectic discussion about the sale/purchase and delivery deal.
The sources have declined to give the details of the amount involved in the deal but they have claimed that it has been transparent and it would be made public next month just before the delivery of the F-16s.
However, it is understood that the used planes are cost-effective and could provide service for a fairly longer period of time. Pakistan is also contemplating to acquire more used planes for the PAF from some other countries while the induction of JF-17 Thunder aircraft, co-production of Pakistan and China, e is also underway simultaneously, the sources said.