Pakistan Air Force’s Air Chief Rao Suleman has said that Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) is upgrading the its F-16A/B fighter jets.
Total value of the services of upgradation services will be around 75 million US Dollars. After the detailed negotiations contract was signed in on June 29, 2009 at a ceremony held in Rawalpindi-Pakistan between TAI and Pakistan Ministry of Defense Production.
Pakistan Air Force had ordered a total of 111 F-16A/B aircraft in early 1980s but 71 F-16 A/B were embargoed by the United States in 1990s.
A total of 28 out of these 71 F-16s were paid for and produced and later on sent to AMARC for storage. It was only after the 9/11 incident that US greed to sell new F-16 C/D Block 52+ aircrafts to the PAF and allowed the transfer of 14 of F-16A/B to PAF.
This Mid-Life Update (MLU) included APG-68(V)9 with Synthetic Aperture Radar or APG-66(V)2 radar, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals, SNIPER targeting pod among many other modification.
As only 14 F-16 A/B out of 28 produced for PAF were delivered after removal of the sanctions and one of the F-16 was destroyed in an accident during the training, PAF decided to use the option of upgrading all the remaining 45 F-16 A/B to the F-16 AM/BM standards.
This upgrade will allow these old F-16 A/B to use 500 AIM-120 C5 AMRAAM beyond the air to air visual range missile and 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder short range missiles and 2,100 precision-guided bombs being purchased with the new F-16 C/D Block 52+.
Pakistan Air Force has ordered a total of 18 new F-16 C/D Block 52+ with an option on another 18. These 18 new F-16 C/D Block 52+ were delivered last year to the PAF.