Pakistan F-16 sale comes with full arsenal

WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- New F-16 warplanes being sold to Pakistan will come with an assortment of air and ground weaponry.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress last week that the F-16s would come with 200 Sidewinder and 500 AIM-120C5 air-to-air missiles plus 800 2,000 and 500-pound general purpose bombs.


The weapons, along with launchers, training missiles and 500 JDAM bomb guidance systems, are attacked to Pakistan's request for F-16C/D jets from the Block 50/52 production run.

The agency said the contract could be worth about $650 million to suppliers including Lockheed, BAE and Northrop Grumman.

Pakistani warplanes have played a steady role in operations against al-Qaida forces operating out of the rugged countryside. The Pentagon said in a statement that the munitions would be used in continuing anti-terrorism operations.

It was not immediately clear how the 700 air-to-air missiles fit in with the battle against entrenched guerillas; the agency did say the deal would allow Pakistan to upgrade its overall "aging fighter and weapons inventory."

Pakistan's neighbor, India, objected Monday to the reported plan to sell 18 F-16s to its rival, calling it "non conducive" to better relations between the two nations. The deal has an option for another 18 planes.


The Pentagon, however, said it concluded that supplying Pakistan with the new aircraft and munitions would not place India at any strategic disadvantage.

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