US envoy, PAF chief review F-16 programme
22 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador Richard Olson and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt on Monday reviewed Pakistan's F-16 programme.
Ambassador Olson reaffirmed the importance of a strong US-Pakistan security relationship during an exchange of ideas with Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt. Both sides affirmed their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship which they agreed should focus on achieving common objectives.
Ambassador Olson and the air chief marshal reviewed the Pakistani F-16 programme and visited the home of Pakistan's F-16s, at PAF Base Shahbaz.
"This visit, and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 programme itself, represent concrete examples of US-Pakistan cooperation to support our shared security goals and to promote peace and stability in the region," said Ambassador Olson.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt welcomed the US ambassador and said, "Ambassador Olson's visit is important because it focuses on achieving common objectives and it shows the US and Pakistan working together to strengthen cooperation to support each country's security interests."
The PAF has been flying F-16s since the early 1980s. In 2008, the PAF bought the advanced Block 52 model using national funds. The plane has all-weather day/night precision targeting capability. The US Foreign Military Assistance programme is helping the PAF upgrade its fleet of older F-16 aircraft to match these new capabilities. With their state-of-the-art ability to support Pakistan's counter-terror efforts, these aircraft are the backbone of the PAF.