The US Government and Pakistan have discussed a possible sale of eight F16 Block 52 fighter jets since October of 2015 at a cost of an estimated $699 million. The deal saw its ups and downs, with the US Congress stalling the deal. The US Government however, was able to convince the Congress to pass the sale until recently, when the sale of these fighter jets was off the table unless Pakistan paid the entire amount upfront. Previously however, Pakistan was to pay an estimated $270 million, the remaining of which would granted by the United States ($430 million).
Last week of April saw the US Congress interrupting financial aid worth $430 million to Pakistan effectively putting the sale of eight F16 fighter jets on the line once again. The US Congress also put a halt to a provision of $740.2 million funds for Pakistan under the military aid package. Recently, the US Government informed the Congress that it wished to maintain flexibility in the foreign assistance it provides to do business with Pakistan. A state department official said,
It is critical that the State Department maintains the flexibility to provide assistance for Pakistan that advances US interests.. We seek aid for Pakistan because it’s in our interests; it advances our broader security interests, and meets critical humanitarian and development needs.
The US Congress stopped the funding because it claims that Pakistan failed to take action against the Haqqani network. This in turn, has strained the relationship between Pakistan and the United States. The official added that the US Congress did not block the sale per say however, they clearly objected to using Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds for the purpose. In light of this move by the Congress, the official said,
We have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for the purchase.. We support the sale, and we will continue to work with congress. However we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for purchase, given Congressional objections.
Following the block in funding, the officials from Pakistan stated that Pakistan will look for jets elsewhere if the Congress did not budge from its position. As such, it would seem that no progress has been made since, and that Pakistan will not be able to purchase the F16s from the United States this time around even with full support from the US Government. Many also believe that the US Government will find a way around the Congress given the stakes.
Pakistan however, has several other options it could consider, the foremost of which is joining Turkey in the TAI TFX project, or investing with China to speed up the process of their fifth-generation fighter jet development and production.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.