Pakistan negotiating modalities for F-16s purchase from US
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, May 18, IRNA
Pakistan is discussing modalities and number of F-16 fighter jets to be purchased from the United States, a military official told IRNA.
Air Commodore Sarfraz Ahmed Khan confirmed on Wednesday that presently, "the modalities of delivery and the number of planes to be purchased is being discussed with US authorities".
Sarfraz, Director of Public Relations Office of Pakistan Air Force, said that nothing had been finalised about the exact number of jets to be acquired.
A local newspaper reported on Wednesday that Pakistan had increased its demand for F-16s to at least 55 and plans to decide on configuration within next few weeks.
"The government-to-government meetings held in Pakistan recently resulted in a request for 55 jets most sophisticated version of the new Lockheed Martine F-16 plus 20 option," according to the daily Jang.
In March, the US agreed to supply 25 F-16s to Pakistan for which Pakistan had already paid in 1980s. Each plane is reportedly worth US dollar 25 million.
A defence analyst, requesting anonymity told IRNA that by agreeing to provide 25 jets to Pakistan, the US government saved the manufacturing firm from closure of its F-16 production line and some 200 engineers and workers from losing their job.
After September 11 events in the US, defence cooperation between Pakistan and US has increased.
Last year, the US government okayed a five-year dollar 3 billion assistance package for Pakistan, half of which would be for military purchases.
::IRNA No.046 18/05/2005 16:04 --End
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