June 27, 2010
SHAHBAZ AIR BASE: With the induction of latest version of F-16
aircraft, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has achieved the capability to carry
out all-weather night time operations, said Chief of Air Staff Air
Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman here on Sunday.
Addressing the formal handing over ceremony of three Block 52 C/D
version of F-16 aircraft by the US at the newly developed base near
Jacobabad, Chief of Air Staff said this technology will not only
eliminate our existing limitations of precision night operations but
also enable the PAF to meet its mission more effectively.
“The mission of the PAF is to Maintain Peace with Honor in the Region:
should this primary effort of maintaining peace fail, we will use our
resources including these aircraft to defend our country against any
internal or external threats.”
General Norton A Schwartz, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
(USAF), especially visited Pakistan to attend the handing over ceremony.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson, Vice Admiral Michael
LeFever, US Defence Representative in Pakistan along with other senior
PAF, USAF, civil and military officials were also present on the
occasion. Lt Gen Hostage of USAF (Centcom) handed over the documents of
the newly inducted aircraft to Air Marshal Mohammad Hasan, Deputy Chief
of Air Staff (Operations), PAF.
The newly manufactured aircraft by Lokheed Martin had reached Pakistan on Saturday.
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar termed the handing over of the aircraft to
Pakistan a happy augury as the deal for supply of these aircraft by the
US was signed back in 2006, but it became controversial at the hands of
critics on both sides.
However, he said of late it matured following efforts put in by the “good people” living in both the friendly countries.
Later, talking to media-persons, he said other countries in the region
had already such type of aircraft available with them while acquiring
of latest F-16 aircraft by Pakistan has brought back the balance of
power in the region.
The Chief of Air Staff while addressing the gathering said that PAF men
made round the clock efforts to complete the Shahbaz Base as a fully
fledged air base, which only a year back was being used as a forward
“PAF Base, Shahbaz has been developed into a modern Base capable of
handling state-of-the-art and most modern fighter aircraft of the world
in less than a year.”
Completion of this task in a record time reflects the spirit of PAF,
which is used to working against heavy odds and meeting the assigned
tasks within the available limited resources. These new aircraft will
begin a new era of hi-tech environment in the PAF.
As far as the overhauling and up-gradation of existing F-16 aircraft is
concerned, he said initially 14 aircraft from the existing fleet of PAF
would be upgraded with the US assistance as a team of technicians,
engineers and experts had already been working to transfer the
up-gradation and repair skills to their Pakistani counterparts.
This handing over has formally started the delivery of the fleet of 18
F-16 C/D Block 52 fighter aircraft to Pakistan. PAF would receive these
state-of-the-art aircraft from the US Government in different batches.
The delivery of all the 18 aircraft would complete by the end of this
year. In addition to delivery of 18 aircraft by US, he said the
friendly country would also help Pakistan in upgrading existing lot of
F-16 aircraft matching to the latest version of the fighting falcons.
The Chief of Air Staff also announced an uplift package for the people
of Jacobabad according to which PAF would immediately provide three
water filtration plants, besides constructing a hospital and school in
Source: Associated Press of Pakistan