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Pak Inducts Five New F-16 Combat Jets Into Air Force

PTI 13 Dec 2010, 22:39:58 IST
Islamabad, Dec 13 (PTI) Pakistan today received five of a batch of 18 F-16 combat jets ordered from the United States and their induction into the Air Force is expected to boost the country's air defence capabilities.

Pakistan had signed a contract with the US administration in 2005-06 for 18 F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft.

The five new jets were inducted into the Pakistan Air Force during a ceremony held at Shahbaz airbase in Jacobabad city in southern Sindh province.

The F-16 C/D Block 52 jets are equipped with a sophisticated avionics suite and latest weapons with night precision attack capability, the PAF said.

The jets were acquired as part of PAF's bid to modernise and enhance its air defence capabilities, officials said.

"The induction into the PAF of five more advanced F-16 Block 52 aircraft represents the near completion of your

Block-52 squadron... It also manifests the abiding commitment of the US to Pakistan's national defence," said US Ambassador Cameron Munter. Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, who was also present at the ceremony, said: "Pakistan and the US are friends and partners. Both countries have benefited from each other".

The first batch of new F-16s arrived in Pakistan in June, the second batch in October and third batch last month.

The F-16 Block 52 aircraft have additional fuel and payload capacity, improved avionics and sensors, and colourcockpit displays with enhanced pilot-vehicle interfaces, said a statement from the US embassy.

The US is working with the PAF to update 45 F-16s in its existing fighter fleet through the US Foreign Military

Financing security assistance programme. When the updates are completed, these jets will have
capabilities similar to those of the new F-16s, including advanced communications and a precision targeting system.The first batch of upgraded F-16s is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in early 2012. PTI