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Pakistan claims to have an edge over IAF

July 17, 2006 19:38 IST
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Claiming to have an edge over Indian Air Force in terms of training and technology, Pakistan's Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tanveer Mehmud Ahmad on Monday said Islamabad was looking into possible options to acquire military aircraft.

Recalling last May's successful inaugural operational flight of the JF-17 (Thunder) aircraft, which Pakistan and China jointly manufactured, the Air Chief Marshal said, "This plane would prove to be a major backbone of the PAF's future requirements."

Pakistan plans to launch serial production of the medium-tech aircraft next year following induction of the first batch of four JF-17s.

Addressing his maiden press conference in Islamabad at the air headquarters, Air Chief Marshal Ahmad said Pakistan was to purchase 44 F-16s (18 new and 26 used) from the US. 'The 18 brand new C and D versions of the F-16s would cost $2 billion, he said, hoping that the jets would join the Pakistan Air Force fleet within three years.

On induction of the 26 used F-16s, Air Chief Marshal Ahmad said: "The US would configure these jets according to the PAF's requirement. We will have to pay a very nominal price for these multi-role aircraft." He said these 26 jets should join the PAF fleet within the next 15-18 months.

Speaking about the upgradation plan for the present fleet of F-16s, the Air Chief Marshal said the PAF has sought American help in upgrading these machines, which would cost $1 billion.

He, however, strongly dispelled the impressions that Pakistan might transfer technology of the F-16s to a third country. "There shall be no transfer of technology of the F-16s to anybody," said Ahmad in reference to apprehensions recently expressed by some US Congressmen that Pakistan might transfer the technology to China.

He said Pakistan expected that Washington would not violate the terms of agreement for delivery of the 44 jets. "We have asked the US to come back to us with whatever assurances they require," he said.

Air Chief Marshal Ahmad said Pakistan would also buy a refueler plane soon. However, he did not disclose either name of the aircraft or the country, which is to sell it to the PAF.

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Source: source