F-16 Fighting Falcon

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has received the final batch of three F-16 D Block 52 aircrafts from the US at Shahbaz Air Force Base, Pakistan, as part of a $2.7bn US foreign military sale (FMS) signed in December 2006.

Pakistan has received two F-16 Block 15 mid life upgrade (MLU) and one F-16 D Block 52 aircraft, which includes day-night, all-weather and precision-attack capabilities.

The delivery comes at a time when military aid for Pakistan has been almost completely halted by the US in the wake of a series of crises affecting the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

The final batch for PAF includes 12 F-16C and six F-16D block 52 aircrafts equipped with Night Precision Attack capability. Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor.

The compact multirole, single-engine Lockheed Martin-built F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft has a high level of manoeuvrability, a top speed of 2,124km/h, and is capable of detecting planes flying at very low altitudes.

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The F-16 block 52 aircraft is equipped with AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles as well as the Sniper targeting pod, which provides additional fuel and payload capacity, improved avionics and sensors and colour cockpit displays with enhanced pilot / vehicle interfaces.

The AN/APG-68 radar-equipped F-16 with wind-corrected munitions dispenser infrared navigation provides the pilot with separate air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, including long-range, all-aspect detection and tracking, simultaneous multiple-target tracking and high-resolution ground mapping.

The jets are widely deployed by the air forces of Israel, Egypt, Iraq, New Zealand, South Korea, Chile, Poland, UAE, Bahrain, Greece and Singapore.

The US is also working with the PAF to update 45 F-16s from its existing fighter fleet through the US foreign military financing security assistance programme.

The aircraft are currently undergoing mid-life upgrades and deliveries are scheduled to take place throughout 2012 and 2013.


Image: US delivers final batch of F-16 Block 52 aircraft to Pakistan Air Force.