US approves sale of F-16 equipment to Pakistan; Ambassador Masood Khan welcomes

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WASHINGTON, Sep 08 (APP): The U.S. administration has announced the approval of the potential sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at up to $450 million, a move that Ambassador Masood Khan welcomed.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Pakistan of F-16 Case for Sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million,” the department said. The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Wednesday.

“This is a positive development,” the Pakistan envoy said, adding, “We welcome it.”

He added, “This should be a new beginning to reinforce closer, broad-based ties between Pakistan and the US.”

“The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability,” the State Department said, adding that Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces.

According to the Congressional notification, the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.

It said that Pakistan had requested to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases to support the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet by reducing duplicate case activities and adding additional continued support elements.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with U.S. and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” according to the notification.

Included are U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics services for follow-on support of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet to include:

— Participation in F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Programme;
— Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Programme;
— International Engine Management Programme;
— Engine Component Improvement Programme, and other technical coordination groups;
— Aircraft and engine hardware and software modifications and support;
— Aircraft and engine spare repair/return parts;
— Accessories and support equipment;
— Classified and unclassified software and software support;
— Publications, manuals, and technical documentation;
— Precision measurement, calibration, lab equipment, and technical support services;
— Studies and surveys, and,
— Other related elements of aircraft maintenance and programme support.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas, according to the notification. There are no known offsets proposed in conjunction with this sale, it added.

APP/ift