The $450 million F-16 fleet maintenance programme for Pakistan has been approved by the Biden Administration

The Biden Administration has approved a massive USD 450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment program for Pakistan, overturning the choice made by its predecessor.

The State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale of F-16 cases for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD 450 million, notifying the US Congress of its decision. The State Department argues that this will maintain Islamabad’s capability to meet present and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet.

On Wednesday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency sent Congress the necessary paperwork informing them of this potential transaction. After Trump said in 2018 that he would cease all defense and security aid to Pakistan on the grounds that Islamabad was not a partner in the country’s fight against terrorism, this is the first significant security support to Pakistan.

“The U.S. Government has informed Congress of a planned Foreign Military Sales case to support the F-16 programme of the Pakistan Air Force. The United States offers life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms as part of longstanding policy, and Pakistan is a crucial counterterrorism partner, according to a State Department official.

Pakistan’s USD 450 million foreign military sale includes participation in the F-16 Aircraft Structural Integrity Programme, the Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Programme, the International Engine Management Programme, the Engine Component Improvement Programme, and other technical coordination groups; modifications to the hardware and software of the aircraft and engines; support for the modifications; and spare parts for the aircraft and engines that can be repaired or returned.

According to the Pentagon, this planned sale will help the US achieve its foreign policy and national security goals by preserving Pakistan’s ability to work with US and ally forces in existing counterterrorism operations and in the planning of upcoming contingency operations.

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