At the end of the Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan held at the ministerial level in Washington last March 25th, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has openly confirmed that the US is indeed ready to offer drones to Pakistan. Both countries have an agreement to speed up deliveries of military hardware and assure to put their often “mistrustful relationship on a new footing.”
Saturday , March 27, during the briefing about the on-going High Mark-2010 Exercise by PAF in agreement with Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman disclosed that the United States had agreed to provide another 14 block 52 F-16s to Pakistan.
The Chief of the Air Staff added that PAF (Pakistan Air Force) would start getting military aircrafts form the US, besides getting other modern gadgets and weapons. He said that they are also getting 18 latest version of F-16 fighting falcon aircraft fitted with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile system by June of this year. However, he did not mention the number of BVR systems being acquired from the US.
He said the existing fleet of F-16s in the PAF inventory would be upgraded in Turkey from September and completion would be by 2014.
He further said that the delivery of aircraft to Pakistan would be complete by the end of the this year, but also said that Pakistan develops its own surveillance drones. The country would definitely invest in research and development to make its own armed drones if it is needed.
Sources: WordPress.com, Dawn.com