PORTUGAL IS considering procuring an additional 20-40 Lockheed Martin F-16s, along with taking on board the mid-life-upgrade (MLU) put together for other European F-16 operators.

A team from the company is due to visit Portugal on 28/29 September, to discuss the upgrade. The aircraft on offer are secondhand US Air Force Block 15 F-16As.

The Portuguese air force operates Block 20 F-16As and Bs, which already have much of the harnesses and wiring required to bring the aircraft up to the MLU Block 50 standard. The Block 15 aircraft, however, require more work in being brought to this standard.

The US Senate has voted to release $368 million in embargoed military equipment to Pakistan and to reimburse the country for Lockheed Martin F-16s bought, but never delivered.

The move, still to be approved by the House of Representatives, would release three Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime-patrol aircraft, plus Harpoon anti-ship and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and radar and spares for F-16s and Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters.

The embargoed F-16s would not be released, but the US Government would be allowed to sell the 28 aircraft to a third country, and return the proceeds to Pakistan. The aircraft have been offered to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Source: Flight International