The US is allowing eight more Lockheed Martin F-16s to be sold to Pakistan, a statement said on Friday 12 February. The aircraft are identical to advanced F-16 variants purchased by Pakistan earlier.
The sale is worth 699 million USD and includes support, training and spare parts. The approval means that Pakistan is now actually free to actually order the aircraft from Lockheed Martin, giving the defense company another chance to keep F-16 serial production going after over 38 years.
The US decision has led India to protest against to potential sale.
Pakistan can rely on four fully equipped JF-17 Thunder squadrons following the handover of the 16th Block II JF-17 to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), sources in Pakistand said on Tuesday 29 december. The aircraft was rolled out at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in the presence of Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.
The Pakistan Air Force has been flying the JF-17 Thunder since 2007. The fighter jet is a joint undertaking by Pakistan and China, with PAC holding the exclusive rights of 58 percent of airframe co-production work.
The first locally produced aircraft was handed over to the PAF in November 2009. Since then, PAC has assembled 66 Thunders, with 50 of those being of the less-advanced Block-I variant. Production of the newer Block-II variant started in 2014. It offers more advanced weapons systems and avionics.
A Thunder two seater variant is still under development. Meanwhile, Malaysia was reported to be interested in aqcuiring the type, but those rumours were denied in Kuala Lumpur. More recently, Pakistan is targeting an order from Sri Lanka.
During the Partis Air Show in June, the first export order for the JF-17 Thunder was announced. The customer was never mentioned but on 6 January 2016, Nigeria revealed it is expecting three JF-17s to be delivered in 2016.
In a move that has already been doing the rounds for quite some time, Turkey has donated no less than 34 Cessna T-37 jet trainers to Pakistan free of charge. The ‘deal’ was signed on Wednesday 28 October in Ankara, according to a statement issued by the Turkish ministry of Defense.
The Turkish gesture included spare parts as well. Turkey has operated the T-37 as its main basic jet trainer for many years, with a total of 67 aircraft in the fleet. The Korean developed but locally built KT-1 trainer replaced the type. The new Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hürkuş trainer is supposed to augment the KT-1 starting 2018.
UPDATED 28 APRIL 2015 | The strong earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, with 7.8 on the Richter scale the country’s strongest in 80 years, has had nations scramble their resources to come to the rescue of the Himalayan state. Several countries have put part of their air forces on alert to dispatch aid and rescue / recovery teams to the areas hit.
As expected other Asian nations have responded fairly fast. According to sources in New Delhi the Indian Air Force have directed a pair of its ten Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs strategic airlifters to the rescue / recovery / repatriation effort, as well as a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, an Ilyushin IL-76 and a pair of Mil Mi-17 helicopters. The Republic of Singapore Air Force is sending three of its ten Hercules aircraft; the Pakistan Air Force sent four of its 18 C-130s and the Royal Thai Air Force committed Hercs as well. Qatar dispatched two civilian Qatar Airways Cargo Airbus A330 to Kathmandu. China sent its rescue team on an Air China Airbus A330.
Sweden initially committed a team of 72 men and women plus 12 dogs to help Nepalese authorities in the search for survivors and recovery efforts, but later decided to send 30 people and no dogs on board a civilian freighter. The team has enough supplies and essentials to be self-sufficient for two weeks and left Örebro Airport in the centre of the country at around 21:20 local time on Monday 27 April. Earlier it was thought that the bigger team would go on one of the EU/NATO’s three C-17A Globmasters based at Papa Airbase in Hungary. Sweden is one of the main users of this small pool of European airlift.
The Netherlands sent a Urban Search and Rescue team of 62 men/women and 8 dogs to the area, using a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) KDC-10. The team will depart the Netherlands on Sunday evening. Five tonnes of aid accompanies the team on board the RNLAF aircraft. The UK is sending a C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules, while the US has ordered a C-17 with 70 disaster assistance personnel and 45 square tonnes of cargo to the region.
Nepal Army Air Wing
The resources of Nepal itself are spread thin. The Nepal Army Air Wing only has a few air assets available. The fixed wing fleet consists of two Antonov AN-28 light transport aircraft, a Britten Norman BN-2 Islander utility aircraft and a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 transport aircraft.
A quartet of Indian-made HAL Dhruv, four Alouette IIIs and five Mil Mi-17 “Hip” make up the mainstay of the rotary wing. It is complemented by a Eurocopter (Airbus Helicotpers) AS350 Écureuil and two Aérospatiale SA315 Alouette IIs/Lamas. A bigger Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Puma is configured for VIP flights. The Nepal Army has only one main base of operations, part of Kathmandu Airport, but there are at least 36 airfields spread across the country that can be used for air operations.
It is not known if and how many aircraft in Nepal have been damaged by the earthquake. Private rotary wing is available as well, but we have no numbers at this time.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) delivered the last four F-16 aircraft to Pakistan Air Force (PAKAF) on 2 September 2014.
The avionics and structural modernization of 41 F-16s of Pakistan Air Force, from a 2009 deal, was performed at TAI’s facilities in Turkey. Pakistan Air Force personnel participated to the work performed at TAI.