UPDATED w/VIDEO: Pakistan peeks at first new F-16s

Lockheed Martin unveiled Pakistan’s new F-16 Block 52 this morning in a ceremony at Fort Worth, Texas, attended by both the US and Pakistani air force chiefs.

Pakistan hasn’t taken delivery of a new Lockheed Martin F-16 since 1990. The US government suspended deliveries under the Peace Gate IV program, which put 28 aircraft already built but not delivered in limbo status for several years. They were eventually used by the US Air Force as aggressors.


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17 Responses to UPDATED w/VIDEO: Pakistan peeks at first new F-16s

  1. Dave 13 October, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    This is a monumentally stupid move on our part… Pakistan is not a real ally, and nothing good will come of this. If this was really about counter-insurgency they would have actually have asked for weapons that would be more suitable for that purpose. This is about India, as it is always with Pakistan…

    Also, perhaps we could have bypassed the middle-man and sold the Chinese the aircraft and associated technology directly for a profit… no doubt the Chinese will be getting a good close look at these new planes courtesy of their Pakistani allies.

    One little quibble, the USN uses the ex-PAF F-16A as adversaries at NSAWC, not the USAF. The USAF uses the F-16As they acquired from the deal as test assets.

  2. Stephen Trimble 13 October, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    I agree with you Dave that this has nothing to do with fighting insurgents. In 2005, I covered the story when the White House announced the deal, and providing close air support or counter-insurgent tacair was not the reason. The stated justification then was that opening fighters sales to both India and Pakistan would diffuse tensions in the region by allowing both sides equal access to modern fighter technology. I’ll let others weigh in on whether that gamble makes sense or not. But, based on their original statements, it’s disingenuous at best to paint this deal from Pakistan’s perspective as a counter-insurgency plan.

  3. Dave 14 October, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    That’s truly astonishing… because, of course, the Eygpt/Israel situation was exactly the same as India/Pakistan. It’s just so simple, if they only had access to the same weapons technology everything will be better…

    With all those hyper-intelligent State Department FSOs, and they still can’t grasp what the fundamental issues are between India and Pakistan. The bad blood there runs so much deeper and frankly, it probably won’t ever go away… at least not until the generations who lived through the partition and their descendants have passed. Though I’d wager it is set to last well past that… though that’s to be expected when a society is torn apart.

  4. Obamanite 14 October, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    Agree with Dave and Stephen. With friends like that who needs enemies, right? Well, one reason – probably the only reason this sale went through – is because, like it or not, we have to keep Pakistan as close as possible, even if they are hardly reliable and less stable than an F-16 with busted FBW (keep your friends close, your enemies closer, right, Saudi Arabia?). Unfortunately, considering the issues we have in Af-Pak, we may have had no choice but to sell them these Vipers, which are, incredibly, more capable than any in the U.S. inventory. But as Dave said, it’s almost inevitable China will be getting a good gander at whatever we packed into these babies. Just goes to show how thoroughly screwed we are in respect to our choices or lack thereof in that region…

  5. Anand 14 October, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    This will be definitely(mis)-used against India, raising anti-US feelings in a country that has one of the highest pro-US ratings.

    Also, it will give free technology access to China to counter US arms.

    Also, LM can kiss goodbye to the 126 aircraft order from IAF in near future.

  6. Rizwan Ekram 14 October, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Agree with Stephen on the backdrop of the sales.Purpose was not to support the war on terror but rather maintain the arms balalnce in the region. Dont see how they can then, be construed as being (mis)-used.

    The possible 126 aircraft order from the IAF further advocates the need for Pakistan F16′s rather than weaken the stance. If the F-16 are the best fighters out there, India I assume will make it their aircraft of choice to atleast match their archrival’s capabilities rather than settle for a lesser fighter just to be different. If the F16′s are not the best, they will will be disqualified regardless.

  7. geniuszee 15 October, 2009 at 5:44 am #

    Dear All
    With all due respect to your opinions, please consider once what if Pakistan withdraws itself from your allies’ position; can you imagine what will happen to USA?? You will be dragged to hell. Its we Pakistanis who are being slaughtered every day. Its we who is suffering the most with your war on terror. Every day it is our people who are dying. We are sacrificing ourselves for a better world tomorrow. We are spending our resources bombs and missiles to kill them and so we deserve to be compensated for it.

  8. Dave 15 October, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    I don’t really want to sound like a jerk, but frankly you reap what you sow. Pakistan, through the ISI, has been training and sponsoring these scum as proxy fighters against India and controlling Afghanistan. Now, they they’ve turned on the hand that feeds them… so I’m not particularly keen on “compensating” Pakistan for putting down the very terrorists your ISI cultivated for decades, especially when I’m not convinced elements of your country’s military intelligence services haven’t stopped sponsoring the Taliban.

  9. Jay Zee 16 October, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    Dave – I don’t want to sound a ‘smart ass’ here but I think the monster was given birth by both, the Pakistani’s and the Americans. (See that movie, the Charlie Wilson’s war, just as a small reference). US didn’t have any interest in the region and thus, it left. Pakistani army, maintained close ties since these guys in Afghanistan weren’t a threat to Pakistan. 9-11 proved everyone wrong. I think when we spent billions in defeating the Russians, we could’ve spent millions in opening up schools and universities so that the younger generation had to learn better and use their energies wisely (probably 50% or more population were men, who had seen nothing but a ten year war with brutal killing of human’s worse then killing roaches in an infected house), to them, the war and fighting was everything..since that’s all they knew and nothing better!!! As a result, we saw the birth of an animal that holds no mercy and now, the whole region is dealing with these people who don’t know how to dress, but know how to use weapons and the most brutal way of killing innocent civilians. Just this last week, about 100 people got killed in Pakistan and, regardless of what anyone says, they are ‘the front line state’. Check Gen. McCrystal or other’s statements for that matter.

    As far as these F-16′s are concerned, I think it will help the U.S finally reach out to the people of Pakistan and restore friendliness. Remember, dialogue and honesty can replace wars if there is trust. The people there don’t think the Americans care about their defense needs. Even a child knows Sen. Larry Pressler…(read up on it and I hope I didn’t butcher his name).

    As far as India is concerned, there is no match or worry there. 18 NEW F-16′s (still 1970′s technology), is up against about 126 brand new F 18′s or SU 33 if India goes for it, 80 SU-30′s (which beat even USAF’s F-15 and F-16), 120 + Mig 29′s (superior to F-16), 44 Mirage 2000 (better than F-16′s in many aspects), 120 some Harrier’s, Mig 27 and Jaguars and around 200 Mig 21′s…. (EVERY SINGLE jet, capable of BVR, meaning shooting at Pakistani planes from within India) and plus, with Phalcon AWACS (considered better than USAF’s AWACS).

    Now Pakistan, who has always been a U.S ally since it’s birth, has 40 Vintage F 16′s from 1980′s, 120 F7′s (1960 design), almost 100 Mirages (early versions, 1970 designs) and NOT ONE aircraft BVR capable or can fight with any Indian aircraft with BVR.

    Such a large gap, due to sanctions that we imposed on Pakistani military while India was shopping the top of the notch jets from Russia and electronic equipment from Israel………so, I think giving them 18 F-16′s, doesn’t even do a whole lot for them, let alone ‘posing a threat to anyone else’.

    So, I think giving them conventional weapons and ensuring to maintain a balance between the two countries (while making friends with the people of Pakistan), is very critical. All this is required to ensure that they have some level of confidence in their conventional capability and thus, the cooler heads can prevail in a limited war….if they have nothing, they could try to use what NO ONE EVER wants to see getting used.

    If someone had a gun to your face and you know that he is about to pull the trigger, you’d try to throw anything that you can find at that time, just to survive….and if you had a gun, even with one bullet, you have a chance of making your enemy back down without firing or getting hit.. (compare that with F-16′s here for Pakistan and other conventional weapons). I hope it makes sense.

    As far as Chinese are concerned, these aircraft are to be kept in a separate location than the rest, will have American monitoring all the times to ensure that no unauthorized access was given. Such a case means violation of U.S trade laws and I doubt that Pakistan would want to do it while we are helping them increase their capability.

    Sorry for the long article, hope it made sense. Please write back, it is great to have debates like these, this is what makes us Americans different since we can talk about things and still respectfully disagree.

  10. Jay Zee 16 October, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    Oh, and to the last very valid point. Yes, by giving them help to bring up their defensive capacity, we are eventually trying to control their military. We used to have a great relationship with them during the 80′s and then, we lost it due to the sanctions and that grew hatred against us. But now, we are trying to help the people and the army so that we can eventually start to influence their policies and change the mindset there.

  11. Jawad Khan 16 November, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    @Dave and others..

    Well, m a Pakistani, and I would like to share my feelings and views. First, this is the mistake on OUR part to take these jets from Americans, not yours. We must have not done that. We must have learned from our Past. We ordered such planes decades ago and they were not released even after payments, In return we were given the old wheat, which we had already in surplus. We had to become Nuclear power, whatsoever. As india was already a nuclear power, for our survival we must had to become one. Thats we did. Now, we have no threat from India, thats why we never need these planes now from America.. We needed these planes badly decades ago when we were totally dependent on american stuff and were not given.. To overcome that dependency, we did a joint-venture with China, and now we are producing our own medium tech Aircraft (JF-17) capable of many new features. Now we also had options for chinese J-10. Our dependency and need for F-16 was totally over.. As far as the bloody war is concerned which you americans brought to our borders.. We have paid the most..!!.. We are paying daily for what you did in Afghanistan.. We are paying the biggest price for becoming american allies.. Had we not done that.. Had we saved those half million Afghanis which you killed after 9 /11… and we never would have been in such situation.. The history tells, wherever americans went, they brought troubles for humanity.. whether its a nuke strike on cities OR capturing Iraq for Oil and killing 100s on daily basis, whether its Afghanistan Or whether its about killing innocent children and women in drone attacks at border areas..

  12. Jacquelyn Terrone 24 December, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Well, maybe not so ideal – but big change to the world of internet.

  13. Buster Icard 24 December, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Well, maybe not so ideal – but big change to the world of internet.

  14. satyen 31 March, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    well pakistan and america both gave birth to taliban in Afghanistan to defeat russia as we all know. Pakistan continued to feed taliban as her most loved son. If USA wouldn’t have gone back to pakistan then all of u know well that taliban almost reached karachi after imposing your beloved shariya laws in pakistan tribal regions and ur pakistan government signed agreements with these terrorist while they were imposing these shariya laws, only because og pressure from USA pakistanis army started action against these terrorist. So its clear USA went to pakistan to safeguard paki nuclear arsenal from going to these terrorists to save USA from any nuclear threat and is USA wouldn’t have to pakistan then only GOD knows howe many agreement pakistani government would have signed with terrorist while they were creating a true stone age muslim country where women were force to suffer in every way. So pakistan can not blame every thing on USA. If Pakistani government would have kept its cities in its control instead giving it to terrorists in name of some shariya laws then USA wouldn’t have gone to pressure pakistani government.

  15. satyen 31 March, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    As far as India is concern every one knows that F16 are to be used against India. But India is already building a 5th generation fighter aircraft with Russia.
    So by giving these F16 for free to pakistan USA is just losing a market. India will never go for any F16 or F18 or F22 (which is a 5th generation fighter aircraft) as Russia and India are jointly developing another 5th generation aircraft which is now in test flight process. India has always gone for a source which will not give same thing to pakistan and it will continue to do so in future.

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