In a major development, the US has approved the potential sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) revealed the details in a press release.
According to the details, the deal is valued at $450 million and the principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation. The package includes the US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics services to support Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.
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However, the US asserted that the sale does not provide Pakistan with any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions. Moreover, the proposed sale of the equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region and there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
Big breaking news coming from #USA @StateDept approving a foreign military sale to the government of Pakistan of f-16 case for sustainability and equipment cost of 450 million dollars.
Courtesy @jseldin pic.twitter.com/kcL76mGsor
— Javeria Siddique (@javerias) September 7, 2022
“The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with U.S. and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” the press release added.
Pak-US military ties
The F-16 has remained a very prestigious fighter aircraft in Pakistan. In 1990, Pakistan ordered around 70 F-16’s out of which it paid for 28 upfront at $23m each. The USA withheld the F16’s after the Pressler Amendment imposed sanctions on the country and Pakistan finally received these several years later after it joined the US war on terror.
Booz Allen Hamilton- a renowned armor company – had also won a fixed-price $9.1 million contract for technical security team support services for Pakistan’s F-16 program, according to the United States Department of Defense in December 2019.
Moreover, Pakistan had bought a $5.1 billion Military Sales Package from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, however, the deal didn’t go through at the time due to the 2005 Earthquake.
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In 2016, the US said it will no longer subsidize the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, resulting in Pakistan paying more than $700m (£480m) – two-and-a-half times the original cost.