Work begins on F-16s for Pakistan

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Lockheed Martin has received a $144 million contract to begin production of 18 F-16C/Ds for Pakistan, as part of a $5.1 billion arms package to re-equip the country's air force. Work will be completed by November 2010.

The F-16s will be Block 52 aircraft - 12 single-seat Cs and six two-seat Ds - powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines. Northrop Grumman has already received a $99.5 million contract to produce 54 APG-68(V)9 radars for the new F-16s, plus existing and secondhand aircraft Pakistan plans to upgrade. Turkey's Tusas Aerospace Industries signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistani air force last month to modernise up to 32 F-16A/Bs.

The F-16 package also includes conformal fuel tanks, helmet-mounted cueing systems, Link 16 datalinks and electronic-warfare equipment. An associated $650 million weapons deal includes 500 Raytheon AIM-120C5 AMRAAM and 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and 2,100 precision-guided bombs.