ISLAMABAD - Reiterating their commitment to face any challenge confronting the motherland, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt has said that induction of new F-16 fighter jets in the PAF fleet would further enhance its efficiency to effectively handle the internal and external threats.
The Air Chief was talking to media on Sunday at PAF Mushaf Air Base Sargodha at the induction ceremony of five American-made F-16 fighter jets received from Jordan, which were previously in the use of the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). Ambassador of Jordan and senior PAF and army officers also attended the ceremony.
Replying to a question regarding the efficiency of PAF in war on terror, Air Chief said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had delivered 100 per cent results during the Swat Operation while other surgical strikes in different parts of the country were carried out with great accuracy and minimum collateral damage. Definitely the induction of these planes in the PAF fleet would further enhance its efficiency, he said.
Earlier, the Pakistani F-7 and Meraj Planes welcomed the new F-16 planes on their arrival in Pakistani air space. Sources said that the Pakistan had signed a contract with Jordan for the supply of 13 fighter jets, out of which five were delivered at the Mushaf Mir Airbase on Sunday in Sargodha and inducted in the PAF fleet. The inclusion of the 13 jets would take the strength of the PAF F-16s to 76.
The 13 aircraft are of F-16 A/B Block-15 and the PAF already has similar aircraft in its fleet. The deal about 12 A models and one B model aircraft has been authenticated by the manufacturing company and the US government has also given its nod for the sale of the planes. To finalise the said deal of the aircraft, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt visited Jordan last year. He along with concerned officials concerned had hectic discussion about the sale/purchase and delivery deal.
According to a PAF official, the Jets "are 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." They have been modified into Air Defence Fighters (ADF) versions. The Ogden Air Logistics Centre performed structural upgrades to extend the aircraft life from the designed 4,000 to 8,000 hours flying time as part of the programme. They also modified the aircraft engine bay for the upgraded Pratt and Whitney F100-220E engine.
The PAF officials declined to give any details of the amount involved in the deal but they claimed that it has been transparent and it would be made public next month just before the delivery of the remaining F-16s. However, it is understood that the used planes are cost-effective and could provide service for a fairly longer period of time. Pakistan is also contemplating to acquire more used planes for the PAF from some other countries while the induction of JF-17 Thunder aircraft, co-produced by Pakistan and China, is also underway simultaneously, the sources added.