The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has taken delivery of the last four upgraded F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) at the company’s facility in Ankara, Turkey.
A total of 41 Pakistani F-16s were modernised by TAI under a contract awarded by the Pakistan Ministry of Defence (MoD) in June 2009.
Apart from avionics and structural modernisation of F-16 jets, the contract, called the Peace Drive programme, also included classroom and on-the-job training for qualification of PAF pilots for the modernisation.
TAI received the required parts, materials and technical data for the upgrade as part of another contract signed between the PAF and the US Government, as reported by Worldbulletin News.
TAI chairman Yalcin Kaya said the upgraded F-16s would certainly increase PAF’s reliability and functionality.
"This programme is not just a project about the collaboration and a long-lasting brotherhood between the two countries.
"It also comprises of efforts in the detailed planning and accurate technical works resulting in the top quality proven outcome at the end."
Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force Air Marshall Sohail Aman said the two countries need to work with more collaboration and coherence in the future.
"The future of the three countries (US, Turkey, Pakistan) is together since the objective of all three countries is to generate global peace and make the world safer," Aman added.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the F-16 was initially designed as an air superiority day fighter, but later evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft for accurate delivery of ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.
The single Pratt & Whitney F-100-GE-129 turbofan engine-powered jets are also operated by the air forces of Egypt, Iraq, New Zealand, South Korea, Chile, Bahrain, Greece Singapore, Poland and the US.
Image: TAI handed over the last four upgraded F-16 fighters to the Pakistan Air Force. Photo: © 2014 TAI – Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc.