Islamabad: Pakistan is negotiating with
the US to get fourteen F-16 combat jets in addition to the 18
fighters whose delivery will begin later this year, air force
chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said on Saturday.
The Pakistan Air Force will start receiving a batch of
18 of the latest version of F-16 jets fitted with beyond
visual range (BVR) missile systems by June.
Pakistan has been negotiating with the US to get
another lot of 14 F-16s of the same version and other modern
gadgets and weapons, Suleman said.
"Our wish list is unending but we are heading with a
realistic approach," he told a news briefing at the Air
He was responding to a question about the PAF`s wish
list for the US.
Suleman did not disclose the number of BVR systems
being acquired from the US.
Pakistan had signed a contract with the US government
for 18 F-16 C/D aircraft in September 2006.
The first batch of these jets was rolled out in the US
in October last year. The delivery of all 18 jets is planned
to be completed by December this year.
Over the past three years, the US has also provided 14
F-16 fighter jets as part of its security assistance to
In response to another question, Suleman said the
PAF?s existing fleet of F-16s will be upgraded to the level of
Block 52 series with US aid in Turkey.
The project will begin in September and will be
completed by 2014.
Suleman also briefed the media on the ongoing High
Mark 2010 exercise, saying the army and navy were
participating in a wargame with the PAF for the first time to
develop integration and joint preparedness.
The JF-17 Thunder jet, which is also part of the
exercise, had been performing better than expected, he said.
Pakistan and China jointly developed the JF-17.
The significance of the High Mark exercise can be
gauged from the fact that the PAF had engaged all its assets,
especially aircraft that were recently inducted in its
inventory, including the Saab-2000 early warning and control
system and Il-78 air-to-air refuellers.
The exercise is being conducted in a "near to real
situation" to train fighter pilots to avoid collateral damage
during the anti-terrorist operations, Suleman said.
The exercise focuses on dealing with threats from
traditional rivals and a "potential unconventional enemy", he