If approved, the US Department of State's newly proposed sustainment sale will enable Pakistan's F-16 to maintain interoperability with the US for counter-terrorism operations. Pakistan and the US Air Force resumed bilateral training exercises in February 2022, for the first time since 2019. (US Air Force/MSgt Christopher Parr)
The US government has proposed a multimillion-dollar defence sale intended to sustain the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF's) fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters.
A US Department of State (DoS) spokesperson said on 8 September that the “United States government has notified Congress of a proposed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case to sustain the Pakistan Air Force's F-16 programme”. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale on 7 September.
The possible USD450 million sale is in response to a request by the government of Pakistan to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases. The sale will reduce “duplicate case activities and [add] additional continued support elements”, the DoS said.
The DoS added that the proposed sale does not include new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.
If the sale is approved, the PAF aircraft will participate in the F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program and the Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program. These include US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics services for follow-on support of Pakistan's F-16 fleet. The proposed sale will also give Pakistan access to the International Engine Management Program, the Aircraft Engine Component Improvement Program, and other technical co-ordination groups.
The programme will support the modification of the aircraft, engines, and software. In addition, it will provide support for classified and unclassified software.