Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday received three
of the 18 new F-16 combat jets it has ordered from the United
States; with officials saying the jets would enhance the air
force`s air defence capabilities.
Pakistan had signed a contract with the US government
in 2005-06 for acquiring 18 F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft, the
Pakistan Air Force said in a statement.
The first batch of three jets arrived in May while the
second batch was delivered today.
The delivery of the remaining aircraft will be
completed by December.
"Under this arrangement, PAF would receive these
state-of-the-art aircraft from the US government in staggered
batches," the statement said.
Two more jets will arrive next week, it said.
The second batch of jets flew into the Shahbaz
airbase at Jacobabad in southern Sindh province.
Brig Gen Michael Nagata, Deputy Commander from the
Office of the Defence Representative in Pakistan, handed over
the aircraft on behalf of the US government to Air Marshal
Mohammad Hasan, Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations).
The F-16 Block 52 aircraft are equipped with a
sophisticated avionics suite and the latest weapons with night
precision attack capability, the PAF said.
These aircraft are part of the PAF`s bid to modernise
and enhance its air defence capabilities, officials said.
Air Marshal Hasan said the PAF desires to maintain
peace with honour in the region. However, if required it will
use these aircraft along with all the capabilities at its
disposal to defend Pakistan, he said.