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F-16s, Why Not?

28 December, 2005

By Farzana Shah


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Heavy military spending and arms race are discouraged the world over, however one sees that countries, specially those having no need to acquire  more and more sophisticated military armament are still doing so spending millions on the same.

On the other hand Pakistan has been opposed even for trying to fulfill its minimal defence requirements. The massive task of rehabilitation and reconstruction of October 8 quake-victims provided an excuse to certain quarters at the national and at the international level, who have had always scant respect for  the Pakistan security needs, to ask for the cancellation of its deal with the US for the purchase of F-16 aircraft badly needed by the PAF.  The deferment of the deal  by the government  has been though acclaimed  by the interested quarters yet, it is has caused concern for many regarding the security needs of the motherland. For Pakistan it was big question of  do or not to do. And though the decision was taken keeping in view the rehabilitation of the quake-victims, which is certainly the top most priority of the government, yet one cannot totally relegate the defence requirements of the country.

There are many factors to be considered seriously regarding  the acquisition of the military equipment by Pakistan, specially the much needed fighter jets.

It is too well known a fact that Pakistan has never been in confrontation with other countries rather our quest for the military equipment is always aimed at safe guarding the country against any aggression by an adversary and maintaining a semblance of the balance of power in the region, as allowed by its meager means.
 
On the international front we  have had no conflict with any country, which unfortunately can not be said for thesubcontinental arena. Without going into the causes of these skirmishes and confrontations, or who is to be blamed for these, we would like to forget and forgive them as the undesirable events of the past. And we expect the same from India too who has also no conflict with any other country at the international level and is too strong for all the countries in the region put together. It is, therefore, quite perplexing to see the way she is arming her armed forces with the latest and most lethal war equipment.  One can not help ask the question, “against whom is she increasing her military might which is already 5 to 7 times of Pakistan`s military strength – supposedly the next strongest country in the region?”.

It would not be out of place if just to elaborate the point a stock of only one of the Indian armed forces – the Indian Air Force – is taken.

• The Indian Air Force is the world`s fourth largest air force. Has five Operational Commands, over 500 helicopters and more than 1700 aircraft.
•  Just about two months back in October India has been offered Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet. According to reports the EADS (European Aeronautics and Defence Systems) is pitching for its multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon--a truly multi-role, suitable for air defense, bombing and air superiority missions-- sale to India. EADS also participated in the advanced light helicopter project in late-eighties, in October last in briefings to the Indian government, offered to take India on board its fifth generation fighter aircraft project, which is far well advanced than the Russian project, and the first Typhoons could be delivered by 2006. According to the EADS team executives, the aircraft can be entirely produced in India and it would be involved right from R and D stage, if it (India) chooses to deal with EASD.
• During the same month (October 2005) according to reports Indian Air Force planned to increase the number of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) and plans to buy 200 of them.
• The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security, which clears major defense programs, in October, accepted the Air Force`s proposal to increase the number from the original 126, for which a request for information already has been sent to overseas vendors. The value of the original contract was $5 billion; the revised plan brings the combined value of one or more contracts to $8.5 billion.
• The reports quoting a senior Defence Ministry official said the Air Force plans to phase out 60 of its 140 Jaguar aircraft in the next five years, by which time MMRCAs would start arriving. The additional planes will replace more Jaguars, MiG-23s, and some squadrons of MiG-27s.
• A request for information for the initial 126 planes was sent to Lockheed Martin for its F-16, Saab for the JAS 39 Gripen, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RAC MiG) for the MiG-29 SMT, and Dassault Aviation for the Mirage 2000-5. Boeing also has offered its F/A-18 aircraft for consideration, as has RAC MiG for the MiG-35, as reported by India defence site.
• Another matter of concern for us is that India and the United States have entered into a new strategic partnership, with Washington agreeing to provide nuclear and space technology for civilian use. The purchase of the F-16 or F/A-18 would signal the beginning of a new defense relationship between India and the United States, said Surya Pal Singh, a retired Indian Air Force air commodore.
• He added that the purchase of two types of MMRCAs not only will help speed up acquisition of the aircraft, it also may help the Air Force acquire American aircraft, which have been offered with the latest radar, Singh said.
• “India wants as part of the MMRCA package the U.S.    Active Electronically Scanned Array radar as well as new-generation missiles”, the Defence Ministry official said.
• Recently IAF has ordered 150 fourth-generations Su-30MK and most will be produced in India under a technology transfer agreement with Russia, besides it will be getting Israeli Phalcon AWACS advanced surveillance.

By looking at the IAF structure we can clearly observe that of its five operational air commands, two are directly of concern to us as its Western Air Command with headquarters in Delhi being the prime one, is responsible for air operations from Kashmir southwards to Rajasthan including the capital and Punjab, with an Operations Group dedicated for Jammu & Kashmir including Ladakh.

The second one is South Western Air Command, at Jodhpur, which is responsible for air operations in most of Rajasthan, southwards through Gujrarat to Saurashtra and the Kutch area.

The IAF five Operational Commands through administrative Wings, control some 45 fixed-wing squadrons, 20 helicopter units and numerous surface -to- air missile squadrons, with unit establishments varying from 12 to 18 aircraft. This represents total aircraft strength of nearly 1,700.

In such a situation we should not appear indifferent to our security needs and press the government for rolling back the purchase F-16 and not to buy the Swedish Erieye aircraft will be highly irresponsible as it will render the nation vulnerable to enemy`s attack.
If we at all are bent upon sparing money for social activities than why those opposing and ignoring the defence needs, are not forcing the government for quashing import of two VVIP business jets including an airbus for Prime Minister`s foreign trips.
According to reports the first of these two, a used 12-seater Gulf Stream business jet costing $28 million is likely to arrive in Pakistan this month. The agreement envisages its buyback by the supplier for $22 million after two years and its replacement with a newer version for $33 million; hence the net additional cost will be $11 million after two years. Now why on earth we are going to spend such a huge amount on one person? Is the Prime Minister above the welfare and the security of the country? Could he not travel in a PIA flight or in case of special circumstances not charter a PIA aircraft for tours abroad.
Earlier we had inflicted losses of millions on national exchequer by importing 40 Mercedes cars for the vulnerable ministers. The so-called ministers can travel without luxury vehicles but the country`s defence can not be put at stake in any case.
 
Similarly millions could be saved by shelving  the construction of the new GHQ complex at Islamabad when a fully operational GHQ is available nearby at Rawalpindi.

 We had been trying for the acquisition of F-16 for nearly 15 years and it was only after 9/11 that the US has had a change of heart about them for Pakistan. Most of the payment for the jet fighters  has already been made to the USA so there is no justification for backing on the deal now. By her unstinted support to US for its war on terror Pakistan has already ensured that there might not be another 9/11, and another most favorable time for Pakistan to take advantage of to fulfill the minimum requirement of its air force.


End.

Reader Comments:

Cutting back Government Spending

I think the lady is 100% correct in her assesment of government spending ludicrous amount of money on pointless things such as executive jets and luxury sedans. These officials have been elected by the people of Pakistan and are suppose to spend on the welfare of the people of Pakistan. Not their own luxury. Its precisely this kind of ignorant behaviour that disappoents me. I ahve no regard for any Pakistani leader who doesn't think about Pakistanis. These officials should know be shown the condition of the poor in our country. Also we should educate our population about electing qualified & educated officials, not some third rate sardars from a know-at-all backgrounds.

Mujahid Achakzai, Pakistan - 01 January, 2006

No F-16s please

Pakistan should not procure the F-16 for the following reasons:
1. F-16 technology is fast becoming obsolete and getting parts is a huge problem.
2. The US can put us on sanctions at will and then F-16 will become a liability for the PAF.
3. Next war against Pakistan will not be against India alone. More then likely a few countries would participate. Therefore, long range missile (ICBM) are the right weapon to give our enemies something to think about.
4. JF-17 is a very capable fighter. Engine is more powerful then the Mig 29 and it does have BVR. Most of the technology used is thir gen. To my knowledge, pilots and engineers from the F-16 fleet of PAF have been involved in this project since day one.
5. This money should be used to build jet engines and avionics system for a complete third gen. fighter.

As far as Hindustan is concerned, by the grace of Allah, Pakistan have sufficient nuclear war heads and missile to keep India away from any aggression.

I hope Hindustanis realized that Kashmiris DON'T want to be a part of their country. Their govt and political institutions do realize this privately. However, it is the pressure from naive majority of Hindustan which thinks that Kashmir is a part of their country.

Imran Siddiqui, Canada - 01 January, 2006

We need the f-16's

i totaaly agree with every line farzana has written. our defence needs are absolutely vital for the security of pakistan. those who say pakistanis dont have freedom of speech and are begging like babu i just want to say to them that pakistan today is many times better then pakistan in 1999. the economic statistics tell everything so no one cana rgue on that. second what imran khan is saying is baseless. if building planes is so easy then every country in the world would have a f-16 or 5th generation aircraft. sorry sir but you make it sound that way. the opposition parties of pakistan sorry to say suck. they are the real enemies of pakistan especially MMA PPP PML_N all of them...and i had hopes for imran khan but he disgusts me now. instead of talking about making pakistan a better place i advice him to pay his long outstanding telephone and "bijli" bills which like every freaking corrupt politican in pakistan he dosent give a damn about paying to

asfar siddiqui, Pakistan - 01 January, 2006

F-16s

As long as the F-16s do not become begging bowls and there is no greasing of palms
then its a fair deal.

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 02 January, 2006

"India is must"

To feature article in pak tribune mention of India is must otherwise articles are rightaway rejected.


Sanjay, Hungary - 02 January, 2006

No F-16s please

For those who don't know anything about manufacturing: I said that Pakistan should go for jet engines and avionics and focus on building a third gen. plane because producing a third gen. plane will also function as R&D for the fourth gen. plane later on. The only fifth gen. plane is JSF F-35 and Pakistan has a way to go before it reaches that milestone. Furthermore, fighters produced these days are not work of one country alone. All modern jets have parts from all over the world, made in the USA doesn't means that from screw to cockpit is actually made in the USA ~).

Pakistan has made K-8 in collaboration with China and now PAF is building JF-17. Therefore, it is only logical to invest money into future projects.

FYI, K-8 has already been sold to the Arab and African countries and it is generating revenue for both Pakistan and China.

Imran Siddiqui, Canada - 03 January, 2006

Psychosis

Hello All Readers of this site,

I believe that Pakistan is going through and will continue to a kind of "Psychosis" which arises when you capture or steal something from someone (you will do anything to protect those stolen stuff). Look at the history of birth of Pakistan. This country was formed on basis of religion. The “peaceful” religion of Islam wanted to create a "land" of pristine Islam in south East Asia by stealing land from its rightful owners. They used "peaceful" means to achieve this. Having achieved it so "peacefully" the collective polity of this country keeps it people under fear that they might lost the land which they "stole" from their rightful owner. This perceived fear justifies their actions of buying F16s with money which can be used for public good. But, peaceful people of Pakistan with their peaceful religion and polity want to maintain "peace" with their neighbors so they need "peaceful" F16s.

I don't believe the paktribune team would publish this but, if they do I am ready to hear "peaceful" feedback of people.


allen smith, Pakistan - 04 January, 2006

defence etchnology categories

hi to all the pakistani readers. brothers i can see, in all the replies, pakistanies are very very hopeful with chineese JF-17s aircrafts. i would like to inform u all that chineese best aircraft is Su-30MK not JF-17. which they import from russia without any technology transfer. as china is neighbour of russia, russia neither made any technology transfer to china nor they gave them their best SU-30MKI aircrafts to china. while they have sold it to even countries like malaysia, south africa also.
the advantage of india is, india have already made full technology tranfer of russian best SU-30MKI. also producing 16 every year. US has also offered full technology transfer of new F-16s, same mirage has also offered. and as madam farzana shah has mentioned above, multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon will also be sold to india with full technology tranfer, if india choose to go for the deal. worlds best submarine SCORPION is also sold to india with full technology transfer. india is also makin a aircraft carrier by herself which will be inducted to indian navy till 2012.
the beauty of all these deals is that india can not only make aircrafts or submarine or anythin else for her own requirements, but also india can sell it to other countries. yaap india has promised russia for not transferring SU-30MKI technology to other countries but can sell it to any country. like scorpeon submarine.
china, father of pakistani defence, is banned by european union for last 15 yeears and get no arm from them. US is already their enemy. and rusia is neighbour so they dont transfer technology to china, just sell arms. right now china has 3800 aircrafts ,2nd after US. but no aircraft has standard of even old mirage-2000 which even pakistani defence has. out of 1800 indian aircrafts, 4th largest in the world, atleast 900 is far more advanced than chineese aircrafts. even old mig-21 has been upgraded and i can say it has better tchnology than chineese NEW JF-17s.

brothers there is a category of technology. china dont get help in defence technology from any develop country. they even trying to get check republics defence technology on back door which is regarded as very old in europen unions. please dont be much hopeful with NEW chineese technologies.

better pakistan would make more and more missiles and noclear bombs. no missile defnence technology is 100% relieble. even US best missile deefence technology which they have offered to india is not 100%relieble. only missiles and nuclear bombs can give better resistance to pakistan against india.

and one more thing to a pakistani writer. who told u that kashimiries want to go with pakistan?? joke of the day. even pakistan dont have real democray, how they will give it to kashimries. kashmiries will never accept any GENERAL RULE. kashmir will remain part of india. from birth of pakistan till death of pakistan.

regards

s tiwari, Aruba - 04 January, 2006

What india and pakistan should really do

india and pakistan and for that matter bangladesh, nepal, sri lanka etc are just newly formed states with the same people with the same blood flowing in their veins. We might be devided by our religions but are very cimilar when it comes to culture and values. Why cant we form a joint alliance in the subcontinent much like the european union and take upun the duty of defending our common homeland more economically, insted of us individually purchasing migs and F 16s. we are far far behind developed nations when it comes to standard of living, education, and basic quality of life, our governments and people should be more concerned about improving these before we go ahead purchase weapons that do no good to anyone but the capitalist weapon industry owners who wouldnt die with a little les money.

RB, Hungary - 11 January, 2006

GDP rate - should be used to rationalize any defence purchase

GDP rate - should be used to rationalize any defence purchase. Pakistan was enjoying free meals(direct arms and $ for arms) from usa for quite some time. when money from usa stopped after 90's when soviet collapsed the pakistan economy was nose diving. Why cant someone focus on building a transport jet and sell it to other countries instead of wasting in fighter jet technology. look at japan it has many problems with china still it focusses more on economy and the people. Can any one from these south asian countries answer few questions. what is the percentage of your people who live below a $ a month pay. how many schools are available for the poor, how many inventions and patents have originated from your countries, how many scientists have got nobel prizes, how many of the colleges has enough scietific equipments, how many of the people have clean drinking water, how many villages are connected by road, train, do they have proper sewage, does the government rule apply and rule of law followed, how many of them has access to maths, physics, chemistry and other science education, let alone computers and internet. What is the country's plan for the next 20 years. Put it simply, Primary education, higher education, clean water, clean air, decent housing, sewage and decent roads, train service and air service, Edge in atleast one aspect of the world, like manufacturing or information technology or fundamental science or communication technology. What does pakistan has right now and what it wants in the next twenty years, does it want the feeding frenzy of a useless army or have a strong economy with scientists and patents and manufacturing capablities where it can compete with the world and export to the world and also spend a proportionate amount of money into defence. So at the end GDP that is the key. Increase your GDP and every thing in your country will improve, just do that rather than trumpetting about the chinese cooperation as if it was made in pakistan.

sundar, Hungary - 12 February, 2006

re s tiwari australia

asslamohalaikum 2 evry1 and to brother tiwari Iam sorry to say that your views on chinese armes are quite absent minded and you have no idea whatso ever what the chinese are and will be making , we have been relying on our chinese partneres/neighbours for decades, and I wana say thank you to our chinese neighbours, no country was born with technological know how , one has to learn experiment untill it succeeds, we can not rely on our socalled present and past allies the u.s or the europeans , we know how their policies work, yet the chinese and russians keep their words atleast and nevr let their allies down, I agree with you to an extent that chinese arnt the hi tech producers of defence equipment but the trying their best and remember they the fastest growing economy and future super power , this dosnt happen without a hardwork and smart people who don the jobs right , unlike our pakistani corrupt officials, they too bussy feeding their own familes with fortune.

asif, United Arab Emirates - 12 February, 2006

What india and pakistan should really do

hey fella from india, i do agree with your comments but tell us how we can achieve this with our stupid leaders and some of our rediculous public too. would be a great idea if we coulld use the same amount of funds for the transformation our country's and peoples well being , rather then building up arsenals for future devastation.

asif, Pakistan - 12 February, 2006

re: mujahid achakzai

asslamohalaikum , brother I genuinly agree with your post, but remember these officials will make sure the money/funding supposed to help the poor and need alongside devolpment of basic infrastructure i.e road works water/electric will go in their fat bellies, everyone including musharraf knows who the dirty corrupt rats in the goverment circle but hey they all at it, how on earth can a nation develop and prgree if the leaders and co leaders are all corrupt, look at the chinese and indian govermant officials ?/ have you guys ever seen an indian parlamenterian with a mercedes or bmw funded by the state treasury?? NO NO and NO again, it only takes place in pakistan. I would say get rid of all these rats and get some honest people loyal to the country and public and see how it will have a positive affect on all of us. Corruption is our leaders illness and they will even sell the country for some handfull of dollers (some atleast)

asif, United Arab Emirates - 12 March, 2006

re allen smith

allen first of all tell me somthing (if you really are allen smith lol), cant we have peace with our very peacfull and friendly neighbours 5 times the size of our country and probably 10 times larger in armes issue then us/pakistanis? you shouldn even be allowed on this site let alone post such a rediuclous post, long live pak china friendship....

asif, United Arab Emirates - 12 March, 2006

F-16s

A doubtful deal which is not yet to be completed with some obstacles in US government. Pakistan is a nuclear power and to have F16s can help a little but not too much. US manufactures highly priced warfare and got to sell it to those who don't. But Pakistan is making JF-17 and soon will be inducted in the forces. F-16s are required to carry nuclear weapons and still some conversion will be required them to carry the load. Pakistan can save lot of money if deal is made to fail. Make your own F-16 with the engineers and technologies you have with the help of your friendly country Republic of China. Increase the chances of employment and have your own fighter jets. Good luck

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 29 July, 2006

F-16s without Nuclear Warhead Carrying Capability

The F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan wouldn't have nuclear warhead carrying capability and the United States would monitor to avoid leakage of the technology to China or any other country, John Hillen, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told a Congressional hearing here.

He told the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee that concerns about leakage of technology from Pakistan were being addressed by "an extraordinary security plan" imposed on the planes and components and accepted by Pakistan's Air Force.

"This sale will send a very clear signal of our commitment to a long-term relationship with Pakistan," Hillen told the committee. "We want to build this relationship precisely to help them get better at combating terrorism, Hillen later added.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Boucher has hoped that the Congress will approve the F-16 fighter jets deal.

Despite the assurances and safeguards some congressmen expressed reservations about the deal. Lawmakers expressed concerns that the fighter jets' sophisticated technology could fall into the wrong hands.

Muhammad Salman (www.paffalcons.com), Pakistan - 07 August, 2006

F-16 the best option for pakistan

well indeed F-16 till know the best option for pakistan with the best BVR missile like AIM-120 C5 but know indian may be going for MIG-35( MIG-29OVT) in reply pakistan havent any good fighter to counter this mechine ever J-10 A is not a muture challange for OVT so know pakistan should go for F-35 lightining II if offered other wise EF-2000 and Rafale should be in the list

Nouman qureshi, Pakistan - 25 January, 2007

F-16 now a SUZUKI FX

The article was posted years back and i just came to see it now. The reason i want to post a comment is because what we pakistani think of F-16 is that its the best Aircraft so far and most of the pakistanis only know the name of F-16 but the true picture in layman language is that the F-16's we have on our inventry is just like Suzuki FX in front a HINDA CIVIC this is they have lived and served their life. we are extracting extra life out of them by different meanz like overhauling etc. similarly the F-16's in the deal with America is the same. even after 9/11 what we are getting is not the latest high tech: F-16's but peanuts to enjoy.
so the reality is that we are totally on the back foot interms of technology and state of the art Aircraft. The lag is large.we should review our international relation policy and get rid of this american freindship and go in to the russian era by making deals with them and as Afghanistan is trying to show us their true face we really need to have a deal with russians so as if afghans step into our teritory, russians should invade from the north its a long story but the bottom line is we need to recheck our internatinal policy and deals. The example of dealing with russia is having a steal mil in pakistan and india having all the technology transefered. This is the difference between americans and russians American will only give u equipment half heartdly and russians will even allow u and transefer technology.
so find the best friend.
we lost russian's because of afghanistan and now we facing afghani's. And to add russian technology is such that even American's have nightmare's

salman, Pakistan - 19 June, 2008

F16 or Schools Factories

The price of a F-16 is about 25 million USD.This money could be used for needy things.The best thing to do is settle the differences and
use the money for schools and factories.
Pakistan and India are a consequence of divide and rule imperialistpolicy.
Lebanon, Kashmir and Palestine are just a few examples.People of Pakistan and India share their ethnicity, language, culture, music, history, pre-history and mindset. Only religious bigots and nationalist extremists fail to recognise the inevitable and undeniable reality.The alternative is what is happening so far; forced in to a situation where by both states become political pones for the west to exploit.

AJ Melvin, Pakistan - 08 May, 2009

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