US Senate won’t object to America’s F-16 deal with Pakistan


The US Senate did not object to the proposed $450 million deal in connection with Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet program, the State Department said. It said that the F-16 program was an important part of the broader Washington-Islamabad bilateral relationship. 

“The proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet,” a State Department official told Dawn, a Pakistan-based newspaper.

The proposed sale will also “ensure Pakistan retains interoperability with the US and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations”, the official added.

Media reports on Wednesday said that the US was all set to provide $450 million F-16 sustainment package to Pakistan as “there has been no objection to the deal from the Senate within the mandatory 30-day notice period”.

On September 7, the State Department notified Congress, through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about the Biden Administration’s decision to offer this deal to Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, Dawn reported.

“Upon such notification, the Congress has 30 calendar days during which the sale may be reviewed,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Robert Menendez told the Senate days later on September 13.

Diplomatic sources in Washington told Dawn new that Congress “does not need to take action to positively approve” a proposed deal.

After the completion of the mandatory 30-day period, the deal would be considered approved, the sources added.

The next step is for Pakistan to conclude a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the US Department of Defence (DOD).

If and/or when an agreement is concluded, it usually results in the DOD issuing a contract several months later.

The delivery timeline for the deal is determined by both governments.

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,600 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.

During the Soviet–Afghan War, between May 1986 and January 1989, Pakistan Air Force F-16s, using mostly AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, shot down four Afghan Su-22s, two MiG-23s, one Su-25, and one An-26s. Most of these kills were by missiles, but at least one, a Su-22, was destroyed by cannon fire. One F-16 was lost in these battles.

On 7 June 2002, a Pakistan Air Force F-16B Block 15 shot down an Indian Air Force unmanned aerial vehicle, an Israeli-made Searcher II, using an AIM-9L Sidewinder missile, during a night interception near Lahore.

The Pakistan Air Force has used its F-16s in various foreign and internal military exercises, such as the “Indus Vipers” exercise in 2008 conducted jointly with Turkey.

Between May 2009 and November 2011, the PAF F-16 fleet flew more than 5,500 sorties in support of the Pakistan Army’s operations against the Taliban insurgency in the FATA region of North-West Pakistan. More than 80% of the dropped munitions were laser-guided bombs.

On 27 February 2019, following a Pakistan air force airstrike in Kashmir, Pakistani officials said that two of its fighter jets shot down one MiG-21 and one Su-30MKI belonging to Indian air force.

Indian officials only confirmed the loss of one MiG-21 but denied losing any Su-30MKI in the clash. Additionally Indian officials also claimed to have shot down one F-16 belonging to Pakistan air force.

This was denied by the Pakistani side and later backed by a report by Foreign Policy magazine, reporting that the US had completed a physical count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing.

A report by the Washington Post noted that the Pentagon and State Department refused public comment on the matter but did not deny the earlier report.

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