Saturday, October 10, 2009

PAF chief to attend F-16 ceremony in Texas

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman will leave for the United States in a few days to attend the Pakistan F-16 Peace Drive I inauguration ceremony and a luncheon at the Lockheed Martin aeronautics company, the manufacturers of the state-of-the-art aircraft.

“The aircraft inauguration ceremony will be held on the company premises at Fort Worth in Texas at 10 am and will be followed by a celebration luncheon at 11:30 am on October 13,” a source told The News from the US.

According to the source, who wished anonymity, the contract for the supply of 18 new F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft was signed between the Pakistan and US governments on September 30, 2006 after a long series of negotiations.

He said the first batch of the aircraft would be delivered to Pakistan next year while the contract also includes an option for another 18 more aircraft. “In the deal, the delivery of the 26 remaining Peace Gate III/IV aircraft and the upgrade of those aircraft and the remaining F-16A/B fleet were also agreed,” the source said.

During his US visit, the PAF chief would also put his signatures on one of the aircraft manufactured for Pakistan, the source said. The Pakistani air chief would also hold meetings with senior USAF and other military officers during his stay in the United States, he added.

“With the delivery of the 18 new F-16s, Pakistan’s airpower will increase manifold. It will enable Pakistan deal effectively with the situation whenever a need arises for the use of airpower in the ongoing war on terror,” the source commented.

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