Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday completed the induction of 13 frontline F-16 fighter jets into its air force, augmenting its aerial defence capability.
The new jets were bought from Jordon and have been made part of the Fourth Squadron of US-made F-16 planes. Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, who was the chief guest at an impressive induction ceremony at Mushaf Airbase Sargodha in Punjab province, said Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had a crucial role in the defence of the country.
He said these aircraft will further increase the professional capabilities of the air force. The army chief also said both army and air force were making cooperative efforts to get maximum results against war on terror.
Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt said addition of new squadron in the fleet will increase PAF`s capacity in combating both internal as well as external challenges.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif allowed to buy the jets despite financial hardships which shows commitment for the defence of the nation.
Mushaf Airbase, dedicated to former air chief Mushaf Ali Mir, has strategic importance due to the stationing of country`s F-16 fleet which is backbone of its air power.
With the inclusion of the 13 jets, the total strength of the PAF F-16s has gone to 76. Media reports said Pakistan has purchased an entire F-16 squadron from Jordan, consisting of 12 A models and one B model.
The jets "were in good condition since they had attained Mid-Life Update (MLU) and they would be providing service for another 20 years with almost 3,000 hours on average available to them for flying", according to a media report.