close
Sunday December 04, 2022

India mum over US aid to upgrade Pakistan’s F-16s

India is quiet over the US agreeing to a $450 million fleet-sustainment aid package early this week for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to upgrade three squadrons of its 65-odd F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters, for its counterterrorism capabilities

September 11, 2022
India mum over US aid to upgrade Pakistan’s F-16s. Agencies
India mum over US aid to upgrade Pakistan’s F-16s. Agencies

ISLAMABAD: India is quiet over the US agreeing to a $450 million fleet-sustainment aid package early this week for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to upgrade three squadrons of its 65-odd F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters, for its counterterrorism capabilities.

No official reaction has come from New Delhi regarding the decision of the US, which is termed a close strategic ally of India. It is clear that the diplomatic skills and efforts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paved the way for the development, as he had constructive discussion with US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd James Austin, a day earlier. It was officially stated that during the call, matters of mutual interest, regional stability as well as defence and security cooperation were discussed in their conversation.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has neither confirmed nor denied whether New Delhi had indeed been informed by Washington of its intent to back the PAF’s F-16 retrofit by platform manufacturers Lockheed Martin, in a move that could potentially challenge the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s rapidly declining fighter squadron strength.

According to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the projected F-16 upgrade includes enhancing the fighters’ engine, overall structure and electronic warfare (EW) capability. Additionally, the platforms’ targeting and EW pods, which not only conduct electronic reconnaissance, but also perform communication and radar jamming roles, and other diverse classified and unclassified on-board fighter software, too, would undergo an upgrade.

Notifying the US Congress of the assistance package to the PAF through the Foreign Military Sales route, the DSCA clarified that the $450 million aid for F-16s did not include providing the combat platforms with new capabilities, weapons or munitions. Instead, the assistance would “support the foreign policy and national security of the US by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with the US and partner (it) in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” the DSCA stated.

Furthermore, the DSCA declared that Pakistan would have no difficulty in absorbing these F-16 ‘articles and services’ into its armed forces. It went on to state that all these improvements to the combat platform would, in no way, alter the regional military balance in South Asia, an assertion the US has been articulating throughout, whenever it had previously supplied materiel to Pakistan.

Indian military experts have pointed out that US President Joe Biden had disappointed Indian military officials at a juncture when New Delhi was deemed Washington’s close strategic ally and was in advanced negotiations with it to acquire military hardware.

The planned acquisition includes 30 armed MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B unmanned aerial vehicles for around $3 billion, and possibly 26 Boeing F/A-18 E/F Block III Super Hornet dual-engine fighters, including eight dual-seat trainers for INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s newly-commissioned aircraft carrier, for an additional $6-8 billion. India had already acquired over $20 billion worth of US military equipment since 2001-02.

Comments

    Flyer commented 3 months ago

    India knew there is no upgrading, its only oil changes and tires rotation.just threw the carrot asusal.

    1 4