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Pakistan asks US for advanced F-16 craft

April 15, 2005 17:20 IST

Pakistan has sought F-16 fighter jets and several high-tech military equipment from the United States, official sources in Islamabad said.

Pakistan's Secretary, Defence Production, General (retd) Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, briefed a five-member visiting US defence delegation about the arms deal on Thursday.

"Early delivery of F-16 aircraft capable of firing medium range air-to-air Beyond Visual Range missiles, C-130 aircraft, AIM-9-M missiles, TOW-II missiles, Howitzer 155- MM and TPS-77 radars need to be expedited," Aurakzai told the delegation.

The visit of the US delegation led by Lt General Jeffrey B. Kohler, Director of Defence Security Cooperation Agency, came a day after Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Pakistan.

Rumsfeld held talks with President Pervez Musharraf on a host of issues, including F-16s.

Defence analysts in Islamabad attach significance to Pakistan seeking F-16 models capable of firing medium range air-to-air Beyond Visual Range missiles from the US.

Analysts claim the Pakistan Air Force is trying to acquire BVRs, which is by far the most advanced missile.

It was, however, unclear whether the sale of F-16s with capability to fire missiles would also include the supply of the missiles themselves.

US initially proposed to sell 24 F-16s, each costing around USD 40 million and PAF wanted to buy 70 planes.

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