Dallas: American aerospace giant Lockheed
Martin today assured India that the F-16s being offered to it
would be "much more advanced" than the fighters provided to
"I can assure you, the Super Viper is much more
advanced in all aspects than the F-16s being given to
Pakistan," Lockheed Martin`s Vice President-Business
Development (India) Orville Prins told a group of visiting
Indian journalists here.
The assurance comes in the wake of reports that India
was concerned over US supplying a new set of F-16s to
Pakistan, a decision which could be a crucial geopolitical
factor when the Indian Air Force (IAF) decides on the USD 10
billion Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender,
described as `mother of all deals`.
"The F-16IN Super Viper will be more advanced than the
F-16 Block 60 that were delivered to the UAE recently. The
fighter jets being given to Pakistan by the US government are
F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft," Prins said here.
However, the official said he would not discuss
anything more about the company`s dealings with Pakistan,
except the fact that it was not the firm that was selling
anything to any country, but was just partnering with the US
"We don`t sell, the US government does. We only
support the US government`s decisions," he said when queried
about the US military support to Pakistan in the form of a set
of 18 new F-16 fighters.
In fact, Prins tried to defend the military sale of
his company`s fighter jets to Pakistan despite India`s
protest, saying it was not just Lockheed Martin that was
supplying to Islamabad, but all the six contenders in the
MMRCA race were, either directly or indirectly.
Other bidders in the MMRCA deal were US` Boeing,
French D`Assault, Swedish Gripen, European consortium EADS,
and Russian MiG.
The programme to deliver 18 F-16s to Pakistan, named
as `Peace Drive I`, will raise the total number of F-16s
ordered by Pakistan to 54.
The `Peace Drive I` order is for 12 F-16Cs and six
F-16Ds, all powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine
and these would be delivered by end of 2010.