Pakistan’s plans to upgrade and expand its Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter fleet have been detailed in notifications sent to US Congress for approval. The proposed deals cover 18 new F-16C/Ds, plus 18 options, and mid-life update (MLU) kits for up to 60 F-16A/Bs, plus spares, weapons and trainers, and total $5.1 billion.

US participation in India’s forthcoming contest for 126 new lightweight fighters, meanwhile, hinges on Congressional approval of a deal to provide New Delhi with assistance in developing civil nuclear power stations. The bill has passed two key committees, but India is holding up release of a request for proposals until it is sure the deal will go through.

Pakistan’s new F-16s will be Block 50/52 examples with either Pratt & Whitney F100-229 or General Electric F110-129 engines, Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)9 radars, conformal fuel tanks, helmet-mounted cueing systems and Link 16 datalinks. A choice of electronic warfare system is offered, including Northrop ALQ-131 or Raytheon ALQ-184 electronic-countermeasures (ECM) pods, or BAE Systems ALQ-178, ITT AIDEWS or Raytheon ALQ-187 integrated self-protection suites.

The new-aircraft purchase is valued at $3 billion, while an associated weapons package is tagged at $650 million. The latter includes 500 Raytheon AIM-120C5 AMRAAM medium-range and 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, 500 GBU-31/38 Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition global positioning system/inertial-guided bombs and 1,600 Raytheon Enhanced GBU-12/24 GPS/laser-guided bombs.

The proposed $1.3 billion MLU deal covers modification kits and Falcon Star structural upgrades for Pakistan’s existing F-16A/Bs, plus 26 refurbished aircraft the country may acquire.

Source: Flight International