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US proposes sale to sustain Pakistan F-16s

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 ā€œUnited States government has notified Congress of a proposed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case to sustain the Pakistan Air Force's F-16 programmeā€. 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 ā€œduplicate case activities and [add] additional continued support elementsā€, 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.

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