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Lockheed Martin today unveiled the first of up to 36 F-16 Block 52 fighters that could be sold to the Pakistan Air Force in a ceremony attended by the chiefs of both Pakistani US air forces.
The so-called “Peace Drive I” programme brokered by the US government once called for Pakistan to buy up to 55 F-16s. That number has been reduced to firm orders for 12 single-seat F-16C and six F-16Ds.
Pakistan also has signed options to buy 18 more F-16 Block 52s, all powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines.
The F-16s currently on order represent the “latest configuration of the best 4th generation multirole fighter available in the world today,” John Larson, vice president of F-16 programmes for Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.
In June 2006, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency listed the systems that Pakistan had requested for its F-16s.
Requested sensors included Northrop Grumman mechanically-scanned APG-68(V)9 radars and ITT ALQ-211(V)9 advanced integrated defensive electronic warfare suites (AIDEWS) without digital radio frequency memory.
The proposed weapons package included an order for 500 Raytheon AIM-120C5 advanced medium range air to air missiles, 200 Raytheon AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinders, 500 Boeing joint direct attack munitions, 1,600 enhanced GBU-12/24 laser-guided bombs and 700 BLU-109 penetrator bombs.
Lockheed is also under contract to upgrade 34 Pakistan F-16A/B Block 15 fighters with modern weapons and sensors.
First delivery for the newly-built F-16 Block 52 is scheduled in December. The event will mark the first F-16 order fulfilled to Pakistan since the US government suspended deliveries under the previous Peace Gate IV programme in the early 1990s.
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