Wednesday July 17, 2024

US approves possible sale of F-16 equipment

Biden administration approves possible sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan

By Wajid Ali Syed
September 09, 2022
Pakistans F-16 fighter jet.— Photo: file
Pakistan's F-16 fighter jet.— Photo: file  

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration has approved the possible sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan for a cost of 450 million dollars.

The deal falls under the Foreign Military Sales programme that was suspended by former US president Trump in early 2018. The reversal of the Trump-era decision by the Biden administration comes a year after the US has withdrawn its forces from Afghanistan and acknowledges Pakistan’s help in evacuating its personnel.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to The News that the US government has notified Congress of a proposed Foreign Military Sales case to sustain the Pakistani Air Force’s F-16 programme.

“Pakistan’s F-16 programme is an important part of the broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship. The proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet,” the State Department said, adding that the proposed sale would ensure Pakistan retains interoperability with the US and partner forces.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification, notifying Congress of the possible sale. The notification informed the US lawmakers that the State Department has approved the FMS to Pakistan of F-16 case of sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of 450 million dollars.

Pakistan’s government had requested to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases to support the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet by reducing duplicate case activities and adding additional continued support elements, according to the notification.

However, it clarifies that the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions. Also, that the proposed sale of the equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. “Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces,” it stated.