The United States decided to push ahead with the sale and delivery of eight U.S.-made F-16 Block-52 fighters to Pakistan in a deal valued at $699 million. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified U.S. lawmakers about the deal. The DSCA’s approval comes days after Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed concern to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration should withhold such a deal due to concerns that Pakistan was insufficiently targeting militant groups hostile to the United States, specifically the Haqqani Network. U.S. legislators have a 30 day period to review and potentially block the sale. Corker’s hold on the funding could end the deal unless Pakistan manages to find an alternate way to finance the purchase.
“We support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan, which we view as the right platform to in support of Pakistan’s counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations,” a DSCA official told Defense News. In addition to eight F-16 Block 52 fighters, the deal will include increased performance engines, advanced radars, electronic warfare equipment, and spare and repair parts. In its official notice, the DSCA noted that the “proposed sale contributes to U.S. foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.” Between 2002 and 2014, the United States sold $5.4 billion in defense equipment to Pakistan.
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