Lockheed Martin has unveiled the first of 18 new F-16s for the Pakistani Air Force under a $144m contract.

The Pakistani Air Force will use the F-16s to modernise its existing fleet, and to add robustness and versatility in the nation’s military.

The F-16 order, designated ‘Peace Drive I’ will include 12 F-16Cs and six F-16Ds, all powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines.

Under the US foreign military sales contract, Lockheed will deliver the first two-seater F-16D for Pakistan by the end of 2009, with the rest expected to be delivered in 2010.

The US and Pakistani Governments had signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) in the beginning of 2006 agreeing to purchase 18 block 52 F-16s.