Sunday, May 2, 2010

Eight F-16 pilots from the Pakistan Air Force have Completed their Training

Eight Pakistan Air Force pilots, each experienced in the F-16A/B, recently learned to fly newer C/D model aircraft at the 162nd Fighter Wing, the international F-16 training unit at Tucson International Airport.

They will be honored at a graduation ceremony at the Pima Air and Space Museum, Tuesday, May 4 starting at 6 p.m. Keynote speakers at the graduation will include Air Marshal Waseem Ud Din, the Pakistan Air Force deputy chief of staff, and Brig. Gen. Lyn D. Sherlock, the director of regional affairs, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs.

They are the first from their country to train in the United States since 1983 when the last class of Pakistani pilots trained at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

"This graduation is historic for U.S.-Pakistan relations," said Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Ghazanfar Latif, a 12-year F-16A pilot. "For Pakistan, our air force is gaining capabilities that it has needed for the last decade; capabilities that are critical to ongoing operations in Pakistan's war on terror."

As a vital partner for U.S. forces in Southwest Asia, Pakistan's air force will soon upgrade its 30-year-old fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons. The pilots charged with flying more capable fighters are ready to handle the new technology after training with the Arizona Air National Guard.

The new planes purchased by the Pakistani government, block 52 versions of the multi-role fighter, are far more advanced than the older A-model versions and will allow pilots to conduct operations at night and greatly enhance their use of precision munitions.

The first four of the 18 total purchased are scheduled for delivery June 26 to Shahbaz air base in south-central Pakistan. The rest will be delivered on a staggered schedule throughout this year.

In preparation for the June delivery, the eight pilots took on seven months of training in Tucson that included a transition course from the F-16A/B to the F-16C/D, flight lead upgrade training and instructor pilot certification so they can return home and teach others to fly the new F-16s.


That would be a great achievement for Pakistan. Those pilots now have a great responsibility for training the next generation of PAF pilots, with the latest tactics

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