ISLAMABAD Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has opted for Turkish Aerospace Industrial Complex 'TAI for the Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) of its F-16A/B aircraft fleet in a bid to enhance its operational capability. Well-placed defence sources told The Nation on Friday that Pakistan and Turkey signed an agreement in this regard last week and the multimillion dollars project would begin soon. Sources said that Pakistan has opted for 'TAI - the Ankara-based Turkish aerospace industrial complex - just for the cost-effectiveness after its lengthy negotiations with the US manufacturers failed to bear fruits. The US manufacturers of the F-16 aircraft were very expensive. Therefore Pakistan had to opt for Turkey, a source said. Sources further said that under the agreement the project, that was expected to kick-start within next two months or so, would be executed in phases. The PAF, which currently has more than 40 F-16 A/B multi-roller fighter fleet, would soon start sending its F-16 aircraft to Turkey for the MLU. TAI, established in 1984, is a joint venture of various Turkish companies and had successfully realised the co-production of F-16 fighters, CN-235 light transport/maritime patrol/surveillance aircraft, SF-260 trainers, Cougar AS-532 general purpose helicopters. With its proven experience and know-how, TAI has improved its capabilities in the fields of design, production, modernisation, modification and systems integration of fixed and rotary wing air platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite. Because of the high quality stringent standards including the NATO AQAP-2110, ISO-9001: 2000 and AS EN 9100, TAI has won position of a qualified supplier for Aermacchi, Agusta Westland, Airbus, Boeing, EADS CASA, Eurocopter, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, MDHI, Sikorsky etc. Pakistan had signed an agreement with the US for purchase of a total of 111 F-16A/B aircraft in early 80s. However, of these, 71 were embargoed by the US under the infamous 'Pressler Amendment due to Pakistans nuclear weapons programme. Of these 71, 28 were actually built but were flown directly to the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB for storage. Various efforts were made for acquisition of these 28 aircraft over the years, various plans were conceived for these 28 aircraft: Pakistan wanted to get the aircraft or their money back; they were offered to various nations, none of which were interested; ultimately, the US Navy and USAF entered them into service as aggressor aircraft. However after 9/11 US terrorist attacks in the New York and subsequent US-led war against terror, the US lifted the embargo because of Pakistans role of frontline state in war against terror and in 2005, both the US Pakistan agreed on new deal for new Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds. Pakistan thereafter placed an order for 18 F-16s with an option on another 18, and has got the delivery of thirteen aircraft, and the five year contract for 18 new F-16C/Ds would conclude with delivery of remaining five aircraft on December 13.