Pakistan has hinted it plans to buy from the US about 70 F-16s of the latest variety costing $ 3 billion.
A team of American defence experts is expected to be in Islamabad shortly to discuss the modalities of the sale of
the fighter aircraft.
Also see: F-16 for Pak; Bush calls up PM
The country will be eyeing for the latest Block 50/52 C and D type models of the F-16s costing about $ 2.4 to 2.8
billion, Pakistan Air Force chief Air Marshal Kaleem Sadat said.
Each of the latest F-16s were expected to cost around $ 35-40 million. Unofficial estimates based on previous fleet requirements of the PAF put the figure close to 70 planes, daily Dawn quoted PAF officials as saying.
Sadat said Pakistan might go for fourth generation fighter aircraft to meet with the country's defence requirements. "We got only an intimation that US President Bush had asked Congress to release Pakistan F-16s. We will get F-16 CNDs (Block 50/52)," he added.
He said the number of the aircraft, "depended on as much as we needed. Pakistan is playing an active role with the US in the war against terrorism and that was why the US government has agreed to give us the aircraft."
US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker said an American officials team would be in Islamabad shortly to hold talks with Pakistani officials to finalise modalities of the sale of the F-16 aircraft as President Bush has cleared the legal and administrative hurdles by formally lifting the ban on sale of modern jet fighter.