Editor’s Note: Pakistan has been operating the Block 52+ F-16 for several years, as well as a number of Vipers which are older and in dire need of upgrades. India has protested this transaction pretty loudly over the last few days, but that is to be expected as the two nations continue to take shots at each other (literally) over contested areas of the Kashmir region. That being said, DSCA has announced the State Department approved the sale.

The US State Department has approved the sales of eight F-16 Block-52 aircraft and other equipment to Pakistan worth $699 million, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced Friday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible sale and is awaiting approval to execute.

“We support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan, which we view as the right platform to in support of Pakistan’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations,” said a US government official said.

Air Force officials are set to deliver the first of 18 new F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters to the Pakistan air force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
State Department officials are set to sell 8 new Block 52 F-16C Fighting Falcon jet fighters to the Pakistani Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

“These operations reduce the ability of militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven for terrorism and a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan, which is in the national interests of both Pakistan and the United States, and in the interest of the region more broadly.”

The official confirmed that there had been Congressional objections to the sale, but said that contrary to recent “erroneous reports”, “concerns were raised in regard to financing the sale, not the transfer itself.”

According to the DSCA’s statement, the proposed sale will improve Pakistan’s ability to conduct operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self-defense/area suppression capability as it and enhance its ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations.

According to the DSCA, Pakistan is not expected to have difficulty absorbing these additional aircraft into its air force. The sale is also meant to increase the number of aircraft available to the Pakistan Air Force to sustain operations, meet monthly training requirements and support transition training for pilots new to the Block-52.

The pending sale to Pakistan includes:
♦ eight F-16 Block-52 aircraft — two C and six D and models with the F100-PW-229 increased performance engine
♦ 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems
♦ eight AN/APG-68(V)9 radars
♦ eight ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites

The original article at DefenseNews can be seen here.

(Featured photo by Lawrence Crespo/Nellis AFB Public Affairs)