|Pakistan has begun the long planned upgrade of its Air-Force with a formal request to get 75 F-16. This request should be easily passed in the american congress as combined might of 125 F-16 will now become the center piece of the Pakistan's Air Force.
But Pakistan is also going to look and acquire several other fighters from France or Sweden. And the backbone of the Pakistan's Air-Force is its excellent air-craft the JF-17.
The JF-17 is superior to India's LCA (Last Chance Air-Craft) in every aspect.
With 150 JF-17, 125 F-16 and other 50 Modern Fighters from NATO countries, Pakistan's Air-Force will become one of the most powerful in Asia and a powerful deterrent to any foreign aggression on its soil.
Pakistan Submits Formal Request To Buy 75 Upgraded Block 50/52 F-16s
May 29, 2005: Pakistan has submitted its request to buy 75 new and upgraded F-16C/D Falcon fighter aircraft after the Bush administration announced it would resume sales, said US Defence Security Cooperation Agency head Air Force Lt-General Jeffrey Kohler on Wednesday. Kohler told reporters in Washington that Pakistan had also asked about buying 11 used F-16s.
Earlier press reports said Pakistan was seeking to buy only 24 then 55 F-16s. But the numbers cited by Kohler suggest that Pakistan wants to make the F-16 a mainstay of its combat aircraft fleet. As part of the Pakistan Air Force?s fleet modernization program, Pakistan is also buying the JF-17 Thunder light fighter aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan. Pakistan has ordered 150 JF-17s. The JF-17 is a Mach 1.6-Mach 2 aircraft, with advanced avionics and excellent handling capability. Although it is not in the same league as fourth- and fifth-generation western fighters like the F-16 Block 50/52 or the French Mirage 2000-5, it is more than a match for India?s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that is expected to be the mainstay of the Indian Air Force in the future. At $ 15 million per copy, the JF-17 is also much cheaper than the F-16. The F-16C/D Block 50/52 sells for $ 40 million to $ 45 million each, depending on avionics and other options. So 75 of these F-16s would cost Pakistan between $ 3 billion to $ 3.375 billion.
As against this, 150 JF-17s will cost Pakistan $ 2.25 billion, in nominal terms. But the net cost to Pakistan will be considerably less. Under the terms of the income-sharing formula agreed between the Chinese manufacturer, Chengdu Aircraft Group of Companies, and the PAF?s Aircraft Factory at Kamra (which will supply manpower, aircraft components and other inputs), 50 per cent of the proceeds from all JF-17 sales will come to Pakistan as its share. Thus, the net cost to Pakistan of the JF-17s ordered by the PAF could be reduced by as much as $ 7.5 million per copy, bringing the cost of the aircraft down to $ 7.5 million ? for a total net price tag of $ 1.125 billion for 150 J-17s.
Kohler said that Pakistan had requested prices for F-16c/D Block 50/52 aircraft, the most modern F-16s flown by the United States Air Force and the current production standard. He said similar aircraft have been exported to Poland, Greece, Chile, Oman and Israel. Only the United Arab Emirates flies a more advanced variant, Block 60, with improved radar, defence and range. The UAE acquired eighty Block 60 F-16s under a deal with the American manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, concluded in 2000, at a total contract price of $ 8 billion, or $ 100 million per plane. But this price tag included the cost of missile systems fitted to the aircraft.
The US was initially reluctant to supply the missile systems. But it agreed to do so after UAE officials said they were not interested in buying the F-16s if the deal did not include the missile systems. Kohler said he had held arms-sales talks with Pakistani Defence Ministry officials last month. He said, "I think when we go back and talk to them about the cost of the new systems my guess is that they will downsize slightly the request for new aircraft and may increase slightly the used."
A team of executives from Lockheed Martin?s F-16 assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas, is due in Islamabad shortly to discuss the proposed sale. Meanwhile, the good news from Pakistan?s point of view is that the Chinese Air Force has now also decided to buy 200 JF-17s, in a deal that could be worth up to $ 3 billion. Under the income-sharing formula agreed between the two countries, Pakistan?s share of revenue from the sale to the Chinese Air Force could total as much as $ 1.5 billion, making the deal an important new source of foreign currency earnings for this country.
Moreover, the sale to the Chinese Air Force is expected to greatly boost the prospects for the JF-17 on the world market. Sales to other countries would substantially add to Pakistan?s foreign currency earnings in the years ahead, which would help to reduce its trade gap and improve its balance of payments. China and Pakistan tested the first