Our damaging obsession with F-16s

Published: August 27, 2013
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The last of the fleet of 18 jets was delivered to us in early 2012 at the cost of $1.4 billion, and Pakistan had to pay another $1.3 billion in upgrades to its existing F-16 fleet. PHOTO: REUTERS

While there seem to be fewer reasons to honour our national holidays with each passing year, it’s always heartening to watch patriotic songs being played on every TV channel upon these days. The heart-warming lyrics and mesmerising tunes make us feel proud to be part of this great nation and remind us of the huge sacrifices made by our forefathers.

Yet, these songs also bring to the forefront a certain kind of sadness along with feelings of desperation and hopelessness, like a loved one has tragically passed away.

The videos of many of these patriotic melodies seem to be made with the same old stock footage. Children running around with a huge Pakistani flag, farmers working in the wheat fields, people dressed in colourful clothes performing folk dances and images of Jinnah and Iqbal zooming in and out of the television canvas.

With all these images in line, one scene remains omnipresent in almost all videos, and that is of a flying F-16 fighter jet.

F-16’s have become a symbolic mark for our national pride and honour. The image of this magnificent plane piercing the skies with skill and speed makes many feel secured in knowing that a beast of such precision is guarding our borders and keeping us safe from our enemies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that F-16’s have acquired a cult like status in our country.

I remember collecting pictures and posters of F-16s when I was young, as it was the fashion among kids at that time. Maybe the trend has changed but the first profession kids my age always wanted pursue when they grew up was to be a fighter pilot and to soar through the mighty skies over our traditional enemy.

Needless to say, these fighter jets have become an important part of our national psyche since the early 80s. Pakistan had first imported F-16s from the United States in order to protect its then secret nuclear facilities from possible Indian attacks. From that point onward, F-16s have been purchased by Pakistan in increasing quantities.

The last of the fleet of 18 jets was delivered to us in early 2012 at the cost of $1.4 billion, and Pakistan had to pay another $1.3 billion in upgrades to its existing F-16 fleet. This had cost tax payers roughly $150 million for each F-16 Pakistan has.

If Pakistan was a prospering country with its national coffers overflowing with money, these kinds of purchases could be deemed justifiable. However, with our country in deep financial depression and the interest on our national debt expected to clock in at Rs.154 trillion, the decision to extend such expenses is only digging a deeper financial grave for our nation.

This brings me back to my initial observation, that for how long are we going to keep F-16’s as a regular participant in our national celebrations. Not that there is anything wrong with flaunting our expensive toys, only that our pride in owning them comes into question as we are unable to make or maintain them by ourselves.

In fact we import them from the US, a country which according to the report published last year by the Pew Research Centre, roughly three out of four Pakistanis (74%) consider as an enemy.

The question that comes to mind then is how productive are F-16s proving in this new war, which by all means has become a war of our survival. Other than occasional raids on militant hideouts in North and South Waziristan, which also run the risk of causing a large number of civilian causalities, the reality is that these fighter jets are made for conventional warfare. Yet, our appetite and obsession with acquiring them does not seem to be changing much.

Even worse, to tilt our public psyche towards warmongering at the time of national celebrations, by displaying images of F-16’s mixed with patriotic messages, sends the wrong message to our people and misguides us about our immediate and long term priorities.

Unfortunately for decades we have been conditioned to confuse jingoism with patriotism. This glorification of our military might, and that too by products which are not of our own making and do little to protect us in our current scenarios, gives us a false sense of stability and security. It further deviates us from understanding our real enemy.

Hopefully, our civilian and military leaders, along with our hyper-nationalistic media, learn to understand these complexities and stop resorting to meaningless histrionics.

Saad U Khan

Saad U Khan

A physician by profession. Born in Karachi and is currently practicing in Nashville USA. He enjoys blogging on social issuesand tweets @muziqmonk (twitter.com/muziqmonk)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pltacademy?fref=ts Travel_Tart

    necessary evil??Recommend

  • Lalagee

    the important point is can u use them……the answer is no…India has 5 times more…..so…it makes no use…pakistan should not make such purchases..the nonstate actors of pakistan are enough to disintegrate..no need for outside interference…Recommend

  • Baig

    I was wondering what your point and the moral of the story was,while I read the article…but I found it,in the last five paragraphs.
    Nice conclusion.Recommend

  • Hypocrisy

    There are many double standards here…hating americans and buying their equipment..hating americans and lining up outside their consulate,taking US aid money and sheltering obl,having US intervention for world bank loans,knowing jews are people of the book and hating Israel,condemning terrorism and considering militants,strategic assets…the list goes on.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    In fact we import them from the US, a
    country which according to the report
    published last year by the Pew
    Research Centre, roughly three out of
    four Pakistanis (74%) consider as an
    enemy.

    Why stop with F-16’s? Using that rational I suppose you can toss your computers, software, cell phones, internet etc – and then move on to the movies, music and other stuff those nasty American’s are responsible for. After all that then you can give back the money they provided for floods, disease and other calamities.Recommend

  • Nb

    There is zero future in using these weapons…the only path to peace is diplomacy,trade,zero influence of the army on the civillian govt.,cutting military funding and diverting the money to building infrastructure,shutting down madrassahs/terrorism,peace with all neighbours…all these measures will usher in stability,peace,good global reputation,foreign investment,economic progress and prosperity.Recommend

  • http://one.com Someone_Anyone_Everyone

    Just for information sharing sake …

    Some Facts about F-16:

    First flight 20 January 1974
    Introduction 17 August 1978

    I mean what ??? shudnt it be put in the PAF Museum and start making a futuristic policy … well we have other issues as well, the man untiringly pursuing indigenous for PAF was mysteriously killed (Mushaf Ali Meer) and the JF-17 got many years late …Recommend

  • danish khan

    Well Our Writer Wrote An Article but never mention what should one get Substitute to “F-16” yes there are few plans Pakistan Is Considering that is to Buy 5th & 6th GEN Fighter Jets From China and JF-17 would replace many older version of Jets .Till that time F-16 would remain as back bone of PAF .And i would Do like to Mention Pakistan Can Use This F-16’s to launch Nuclear Warhead Against Any Country But Question Is Will Our Leader Let that Happen ??? And Silence Step InRecommend

  • babar

    We are forced by circumstances to make such purchases and we should no matter how tough economic conditions we are facing.so dear writer i am not agree with you.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Pakistan must continue to spend every penny that it has on this kind of vital defense equipment and then some – there is no point in allocating money for education, health, electricity, roads, ports etc if the nation is not absolutely secure – which means its enemies must either all cease to exist or convert en masse. Further, Pakistan must also seek opportunities to use this equipment on its enemies like India, Israel and the US. It must use all justification possible (unprovoked firing at LoC, jingoistic Indian media, Indian atrocities in Kashmir and Gujarat, 1971 war, Indian aggression in Junagadh, Goa, Hyderabad, nuclear testing in 1974, 1998, Cabinet Mission Plan, one-sided violence during partition, Vodka bottles in FATA and uncircumcised suicide bombers in Balochistan, Babri Masjid, Narendra Modi, Siachen, Samjhauta express, World Cup semifinal fixing, 108 consulates in Afghanistan, Israel’s violence in Palestine, 9/11 a Jewish conspiracy, Aafia Siddiqui, economic meltdown a Jewish conspiracy, Shakil Afridi, Pak rupee decline a Jewish conspiracy, OBL drama etc) to ensure public opinion is in favor of such spends and its activities.Recommend

  • Baghi

    All of it is undesirable, yet unavoidable! Check out how much fleet Indian Air force has and you will be thinking twice.Recommend

  • Baghi

    Check out the the fleet of F-16’s indian airforce owns and you will be thinking twice. All of it is undesirable yet unavoidableRecommend

  • khan of Kalabagh

    The Author having no knowledge , background and experience of Defense related fields is quite off the mark in his analysis of this necessary evil. i would suggest the author must go through the new Indian Doctrine of PRO ACTIVE OPERATIONS aka PAOs, where the Indian Air Force is the core of their offensive strategy against Pakistan.

    if not F-16 then what? which country will give us aircraft capable enough to thwart Indian designs once they face Mig 29, Su 30 and Su 35, mirage 2000 and the soon to be on the inventory of the IAF Rafale jets? any alternative dear Physician author? should i give Disprin tablets as the cure to a blood cancer patient? or should be taking care of the disease with requisite medicine no matter how costly it is. Recommend

  • UmairP

    Other than occasional raids on
    militant hideouts in North and South
    Waziristan, which also run the risk of
    causing a large number of civilian
    causalities, the reality is that these
    fighter jets are made for conventional
    warfare.

    Actually, No! The F-16s fighter jets are used extensively in anti insurgency operations because of their ability to engage targets day and night and with high precision. These are the most high tech jets in Pakistan Inventory.

    Pakistan had first imported F-16s from
    the United States in order to protect
    its then secret nuclear facilities
    from possible Indian attacks.

    Actually, Pakistan bought these to defend its western borders during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We actually shot down some enemy aircraft on the western border as well.

    From that point onward, F-16s have
    been purchased by Pakistan in
    increasing quantities.

    Though PAF is in love with this platform, we have only bought a small number of these aircraft over the years (63 out of 450 aircraft in PAF inventory are F16s).Recommend

  • Sajid

    If you are only suggesting that images of F-16 should be withdrawn from popular media, than that might carry some weight. Although the pilots who fly these machines as good as any other fighter in the world (if not better) as well as the engineers/techniciens who keep them functioning despite decades of use/abuse coupled with bans on imports of spare parts, are both worthy of praise and emulation.

    If however you are also suggesting that our armed forces do away with our F-16 fleet and other expensive ‘toys’ which can only be used in conventional warfare, just because we cant make them ourselves… than nothing could be more stupid, as there is no credible guarantee against a conventional war in the near future.Recommend

  • Dar

    No doubt PAF needs to be better equipped with next generation fighter jets but the question is 1) Can we afford it now? 2) Are the sellers willing to sell us what we need? 3) Are there any alternatives available?
    Keeping the options available to PAF, for the time being, the appetite for F-16’s makes sense as its filling the gap for Medium weight fighter jets. For Light weight category, Pakistan has JF-17 thunder. Also in the pipeline are Chinese J-10, which once commissioned, would change the whole picture, add more balance. Please note that other countries having F-16’s in their fleets are getting them upgraded as well Recommend

  • murali

    How many we Indians have. I have no idea. I was under the impression that you have successfully blocked and forced us to go to French machine.Recommend

  • Peter Pan

    The Author raises an interesting more general question. Why is the expensively equipped Pak defence arsenal ( not just the F-16s) not used more frequently against the Terrorists in North/ south Waziristan and other places when the Army chief says that the real threat to Pakistan is from internal elements.

    Not that I support it but, the Israelis use F-16s against the Palestinians in Gaza, the Hezbollah in Lebanon with brutal force and great effect.

    Are the words of the Chief just words?. Recommend

  • InvesInPakPeople

    Each F16 will pay for the salary of 32,000 school teachers. So our fleet of 111 F16s will pay for over 3 million school teachers. Recommend

  • SM

    “From that point onward, F-16s have been purchased by Pakistan in increasing quantities.” Increasing quantity? How so.. we got 40 in the 1980s plus another 14 free of charge from the US as settlement of the F-16 issue plus 18 new ones. Hardly a big fleet.

    People like the author seem to think we perhaps need no armed forces and no one will bother us in this tough neighborhood we are residents of.Recommend

  • http://xerics.blogspot.com Xeric

    Right, so now we have physicians discussing military gadgetry?!

    BTW, the writer probably missed that F16 is an ‘air superiority’, ‘ground attack (GA)’ fighter jet. Hence it can employed on GA role.

    Though there is a huge difference between conventiinal and LIC/COIN operations, but i ask the author if he can differentiate between an Indian post in lets say the mountainous terrain of Kashmir and that of a militant hideout over the peaks in Peochar? i guess not!

    So i would suggest that you leave the choice of military hardware to professionals.

    On a second thought, why not just disband our armed forces , altogether?!Recommend

  • Hah !

    @ baghi

    Typical madrassa mentality,brainwashed by pak army propaganda against,imaginary enemies,so that it can dig deeper into the tax payers pocket.Pak is underdeveloped today because of 60 years of diversion of tax payers money to the overfunded,obl sheltering,militant supporting,blood sucking army..instead of building better infrastructure and paying better salaries to its doctors and teachers.Recommend

  • Khurram Awan

    @SomeoneAnyoneEveryone: Go and learn about various blocks of F-16s and then comment here. Lockheed have produced various Blocks of F-16s and PAF sought block 52+/60 aircraft that are far far better than the earlier version of A and B F-16s produced in 1970s. Block 60 is equivalent to Mirage 2000s and Sukhois and it was unveiled in late 90s and it got orders in early 2000s. So kindly enhance your knowledge before making sweeping statements about Fighter jets.Recommend

  • kdp

    USA goverment wants to make sure that their Military Equipment manufacturers remain in business providing emploment to thousnads of amercans . USA provides one billion dollars annualy to Egypt. In reality $$ do not leave USA. Money is paid to US companies who in turn ship tanks and fighter plane to Egypt Military who simply stacks Tanks in the warehouse. Or in streets to intimidate their own populations.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @InvesInPakPeople:
    Some people may be getting good commissions and bribes for each F-16 bought by Pakistan.

    Pakistan Terror attack which took place in May 8, 2002, left around 15 dead and more than 40 injured. Amongst the dead, 11 were French naval engineers.

    A bribe of around $80 million was also assured to the Pakistani politicians and military personnel in the submarine deal….. It is suspected that the Karachi bombing was the effect of this unpaid bribe.Recommend

  • http://18572/our-damaging-obsession-with-f-16s Akbaruddin

    And these F-16 machines are provided with GPS navigation system with an electronic circuit which relays all their movements to the US military computers at Florida.Recommend

  • easlam

    Excellent article! Some of the reader comments makes the essence of the writing even more pertinent.Recommend

  • sherrry

    @Lalagee:
    wow lala gee ,what logic
    india has 5 therefore pak should not even have one. Recommend

  • sherrry

    @Peter Pan:
    to avoid collateral damage, simpleRecommend

  • Amir

    Keeping in mind that that the Abottabad Commission has proved that the F16s took of 45 min after the US choppers left the Pak airspace. There was no order to fly and intercept them Such a waste of money. Recommend

  • @Anon

    Just for info…

    The F-22 Raptor, can destroy 6 F-16s before its EVEN detected, thats how far and advanced planes have become to the F-16. I don’t know much, but shouldnt we replace all those images of the F-16 with our own JF-17? It is OUR plane, would that not be better?

    Just a thought, i might be wrong.Recommend

  • np

    @InvesInPakPeople: “Each F16 will pay for the salary of 32,000 school teachers. So our fleet of 111 F16s will pay for over 3 million school teachers”

    When the schools are being blown up by TTP and many (particularly co-ed schools in KPK) may be shut down if TTP requests, why do you need 3 million teachers?

    How will generals send their kids abroad if the commissions for ever new weaponry stop?Recommend

  • Richard Wisecarver

    Yes, it seems to me to be a useless expediture. The USA needs to quit subsidizing the Pakastani militatary as well Pakistan instead focu on improved governence. The elimination of debt slavery and corruption in the lower courts would be a great start. Most certainly here in the USA we need to dramatically reduce military spending and focus on rebuilding our infrastructure and educational system. We are working on our health care systemand need to improve our foodstampor food distribution system. Expensive aircraft should have a low priority but it doesn’t.Recommend

  • James

    @Baghi:
    India does not have F-16.The most advanced version of the F-16 was offered to India during the 120 fighter plane deal.India rejected them after which the US ambassador to India resignedRecommend

  • http://India vasan

    BlackJack : How can u post such a message which contains only partial truth. You missed out the Indian Parliament attack and Mumbai Mayhem caused by Indian RAW and the RAM Baktha Kasab and then blaming it on Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mohammad Shiraz Khan

    Story narrated by Mr. Saad, seems to me bit useless except sharing his childhood memories when he used to watch TV and Patriotic songs, I wonder even after watching and listing patriotic songs, one still believes that Military assets cause Pakistan loss of Millions USDs.

    Criticism can be good but must be raised along with the solution . As per my knowledge, Pakistan cant purchased new machines ( Fighter Jets) due to the pressure and prohibitions from USA, European allies , except maintaining assets which were inducted before .
    So in this Era of dilemma , I expects support and love for Pakistan and for Pakistani Military from our Pakistanis.Recommend

  • http://xerics.blogspot.com Xeric

    BTW, what exactly is the author trying to suggest? Should we move on to a better fighter or should we just stop purchasing military hardware?

    If the case is the former, than i ask him if we have the monies to buy FA 22 Raptors or JSF F 35s? But if it is the latter, then may God help us all – why did we gain independence at the first place?

    In either case, the article is incomplete and can at best be termed as a bable!Recommend

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    Sir, Please leave the defense matters alone and concentrate on your medical practice.
    Thanks… for nothingRecommend

  • Wah wah

    @ Xeric
    @Muhammad Ishfaq

    What’s wrong with physicians discussing military ‘gadgetry’ ?
    If an intelligent,postgraduate professional like a doctor isn’t permitted by you,to have an opinion on this…who according to you,is intelligent/educated enough, among the average pakistanis and worthy enough,to present opinions ?
    Answer-no one…
    Your conclusion Mr.Xeric is- leave military matters to the army..civillians and average pakistanis-don’t dare to have an opinion,since you are intellectually inferior !
    Civillians and civillian govt.-only pay taxes and shut up.Recommend

  • Common Sense

    Interesting article. What is even more interesting are the reader comments. I guess the writer hit the nail on its head with the title “Our Damaging Obsession with F 16s”. Some responses verge on the brink of a typical damaged national psyche…while others are unbelievably hilarious.
    Hard to imagine that with the current state of affairs in Pakistan, the common man still considers fighter jet acquisition as a source of national pride! In reality we need to focus all our energy and money into battling the local extremists and militants …for which one doesn’t need expensive military paraphernalia but strong intelligence and information gathering networks and a well trained and well armed police force. We need to break out of our regressive conventional war mindsets and tackle the real challenges/enemies our nation faces. Thank you doc for being a voice of reason! Keep writing. Recommend

  • Zain

    @danish khan:

    This F-16′s to launch Nuclear Warhead Against Any Country But Question Is Will Our Leader Let that Happen ??? And Silence Step In…

    Why on earth you want a Nuclear War???Recommend

  • sterry

    @BlackJack: When you think of a country like India which has over 500 million people with no access to toilets spending billions and billions on weapons, you soon realize why Pakistan needs a minimum deterrent. Think about it, despite all the poverty in India, it is the biggest importer of weapons in the world! India has a track record of bullying and terrorizing nations around it and refuses to listen to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people who were cheated at partition. The relatively little that Pakistan spends on defense should not be questioned in this context. Yes it would be great if money on weapons were spent instead on human development but how is that possible when you know the history of the region? Indians still celebrate Indira Gandhi’s remark that the 1971 War was India’s revenge for 1000 years of Muslim rule in the region.Recommend

  • http://xerics.blogspot.com Xeric

    @Wah wah

    You know what’s the real problem with Pakistan?

    We have physicians talking about military and generals practising politics!Recommend

  • Nero

    “The F-16s fighter jets are used extensively in anti insurgency operations because of their ability to engage targets day and night and with high precision“.

    “Precise” is exactly what F16 is not (for that matter most other jets). Its a tried and tested warhorse for conventional wars, where “precision” range of app. 500 meters is acceptable, even justifiable as enemy troops/assets are spread out. But they are the proverbial hammer for counter-insurgency. If anyone bothers they can go to tribal areas and find out how many civilians are killed by F16s. Iraq experience would bear that out. The only precision weapon is a predator drone. But offcourse, in Pakistan everyone who dies in F16 bombing or helicopter gunship fire are “terrorists” and all those who are killed by drones are “innocents”. Recommend

  • Awais

    Just to take it to a positive turn, we should be learning to technology instead of buying and piling it up. I think anybody who is insisting on buying advance techs. (not just F-16s) is foolish – be it India or Pakistan. India is more foolish in this regard but Pakistan would prove no less if they had the kind of money India has.

    That is exactly why we need projects like JF-17 or Dr. Sabri Khan’s UAVs that were privately being built in Karachi (now used by Austrailian coast guard). Like they say, you always learn something whether your project succeeds or not.

    Pakistan should divert its focus on learning and building this technology (and they are trying with programs like JF-17, UAV, Augusta Submarines, Takhti Tablets etc).Recommend

  • Ayesha

    excellent article & indeed very thought provoking. Recommend

  • Bright future

    @ Zain

    So that Pak can demonstrate its nuclear power to,India and the rest of the world….when millions evaporate in mushroom clouds in delhi and mumbai, pakistanis can congratulate each other and flex muscles,”See? Don’t mess with us”.Of course,the celebration will last only until lahore and karachi go up in smoke in return fire.And school kids all over the world will learn about us for 100 yrs in their history lessons,as the country that didn’t learn from Nagasaki and Hiroshima.Recommend

  • Noor

    @ sterry

    Indira Gandhi said Nothing like that.Don’t make up tall tales to suit your mentality.Recommend

  • Alann

    Awais:” I think anybody who is insisting on buying advance techs. (not just F-16s) is foolish – be it India or Pakistan. India is more foolish in this regard but Pakistan would prove no less if they had the kind of money India has.”

    India is not really foolish Awais. With every new deal, it has helped revive economies (France, Russia, UK, etc.). In exchange, India asked them to transfer technology to Indian companies and has been certainly successful at gaining knowledge to most newer technologies. On one hand, India now (in collaboration with Russia) has knowledge of developing the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile and will soon have better know-how of developing advanced fighter planes after deal with France’s Dassault Rafale is finalised (+ FGFAs from/with Russia). On the other hand, India produces the finest quality steel at the cheapest price in the world (Tata Corus) and produces the premium cars of Jaguar & Land Rover brands, which I should add the Chinese billionaires are increasingly buying as ‘status symbols’ instead of BMWs & Mercedes’.
    Pakistan on the other hand, is trying to “compete” with India in all the wrong ways and destroying itself from within in the process.Recommend

  • http://xerics.blogspot.com Xeric

    @Wah wah
    There is everything wrong with a physician discussing F 16 because he probably doesnt know what he is talking about.

    Now dont get me wrong, there is no issues of someone being superior or inferior, just that how would you feel about , let’s say a GD(P) or a soldier talking about medicine or biofuel?

    You see, having an opinion about a subject is one thing, but giving a ‘verdict’ over it is another.

    i ask, What (valid) reason does Mr Saad give us for not buying F 16s? i dont see anything less an incoherent bable.

    It is a basic courtesy that once you raise a point/issue, you close the argument with some viable recommendations, which we dont see in this case.

    Just coz we cant maintain these jet ourselves, so we should buy them? i mean…duh…?!

    There are 1001 things in this country that we dont maintain ourselves but still we use them, most of it being military equipment.

    Then the author implies that F16s are NOT supposed to be used in COIN ops, why janab?

    i have already asked that what’s the difference between a target wearing a forgien uniform or a shakwar kameez witha turban when we see from a Pilot’s eyes?

    FYKI, it is better and more accurate to engage a target an enemy post by a F16’s (one) PGM than wasting 20 artillery rounds that could also result in collateral damage.

    The writer also implies that strikes by F16s result in collateral damage, can he prove it or is it just a brain wave?

    BTW, PAF has already carried out more than 5K strikes against militants. http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-26515-PAF-made-5,500-strike-sorties-over-Fata

    Do you think all the military/airforce leaders are wrong in deciding this? That really is a no brainer, sir.

    So, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion but then there is no need behave like an ‘expert’.

    Lastly, you are not doing anything special by paying taxes, everyone does it, including the military personnel. What’s with the obsession of paying taxes? Are you guys doing some kind of favor for this country? No sire, you are not.Recommend

  • Ajay

    These aircraft are a complete waste and a drain. Imagine $2.7 billion when Pakistan negotiates international loans worth a couple of billion dollars. Bulk of loans has to be used for repaying earlier loans and remaining goes to defense with nothing left for education, health, infrastructure.
    All this debt is being loaded in the heads of your children who will have to pay or become an enslaved country, a banana country.

    And then technology is changing fast. In next 2-3 years these piloted air crafts will be outdated and replaced by pilotless aircraft, more sophisticated than the current drones, that can fly twice the speed of sound, so your missiles have no chance of hitting it, that can fly low and high, land on aircraft careers. What will your Army do then? Fork out $200 mil for each new aircraft (provided they wre willing to sell you) and phase out these F16’s? Do you even have the money? Who wants to be friends with a pauper?

    And then who knows what remote communication device has been embedded in its miles of wiring that on receipt of a signal from a satellite will cause the sophisticated F16 to spin out of control of release the missiles in a different direction or just crash the plane. Americans or for that matter, any other country is not a fool to not implant such technology, given this opportunity.Recommend

  • English teacher

    @ lalajee .. Logic is heavily flawed. India has 5 times the planes but they are all russian flying coffins. (Junk). India will only tilt the balance in its favor once it acquires the latest typhoons. Considering the current economic slow down highly unlikely that india will be acquiring any time soon.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    I am sorry but to say this the learned Author just vent out his emotions which he collected in his childhood and infuse them with the current situation of Pakistan and produced a confuse article by maintaining an extreme opinion.

    He should have done little research about what is F-16, why Pakistan acquired, what role F-16 is playing in Pak Defense Doctrine and why USA embargoed explicitly the F-16 to Pak, and what will be the geopolitical & economical factors in coming 10-20 years.

    “Jis ka kaam usi ko saaje- aur kare to Tthun Tthun Baje”.

    (The work suits in the hands of the one skilled to do it. If someone else does it, he’s sure to mess it up.) Recommend

  • AA

    $150m to upgrade? why not scrap them and buy 7 new ones for what it has cost for each upgrade.
    who recieved kickbacks on this deal?Recommend

  • Pakistan

    What an irony! author is enjoying his life in USA and suggesting Pakistanis not to use US planes!Recommend

  • Pakistan

    @Author
    Most of makor water reservoirs in Pakistan during past 65 years have been built by US so how come US is not friend of Pakistan?Recommend

  • Pakistan

    Author is himself sitting in US and saying that Pakistan should not US plane.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    I totally disagree with this article, and would like to know on what basis author is saying we should not US planes, like it or not US help Pakistan more than any other country of the world.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    @English teacher:
    Too bad you failed to look up the Indian Air Force on Wikipedia before you commented!
    Lets see, the Eurofighter Typhoons you speak of lost out in bidding to the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter, with India looking to purchase around 189 units.
    Currently in inventory are “non-Russian” Mirage 2000H (51 units, being upgraded to newer standard) and SEPECAT Jaguar (139 units, also being upgraded)!!!!! So much for “all Russian junk”!
    As for the Russian “flying coffins”, the India Air Force has taken delivery (and operate) around 170 (out of 273 ordered) very advanced Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighters, which are a long way from a “flying coffin”!!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Author also didn’t know that it was US President Nixon who said Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi during 1971 war to stay afoot otherwise the size of current Pakistan could possilby be much smaller that what we have today.Recommend

  • Common Sense

    @Pakistan:

    Looks like you missed the point. The author is underling the fact that most Pakistanis polled in surveys claim to dislike the US (more than 70% as by the Pew Research), and yet the nation’s passion for buying US made military jets stays undiminished. That is the irony!

    As educated readers on this forum we seem so incensed if there is a dissenting voice or opinion. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Author also didn’t know that Pakistan got all these planes at cheaper price way less than market rate.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    If the author really care about those survey which i don’t really think is correct one as you will see 3/4 of Pakistani youth in front of US embassies for various type of visas. But if he really think that this survey this is correct then in first place he should do his practice in a country other than US and then he could be better position to write such article.Recommend

  • Aeronaut

    F-16C/D [Block-52+] didn’t cost us 150 million a piece. A spanking new F-35 will cost you around a 100 million a piece on today’s price. An F-15S will cost you 70 million.

    The price Pakistan has paid for the new F-16s is around $50 million a piece EXCLUDING weapons suite.

    Pakistan is upgrading its old fleet of 46 or so F-16A/B with MLU-MIII upgrade to Block-52 [F-16C] standards. It will have AN-APG68V9 radar, Sniper all weather targeting pod , ALQ-131 advanced integrated defensive electronic warfare system, Joint helmet mounted cueing system and ability to carry world’s most advanced weaponry i-e AIM-120C5 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder,JDAMs and cruise missiles.

    These F-16s form the first line of air defense for Pakistan. Not having the Beyond Visual Range [BVR] capability, hurt us badly in the Kargil conflict. F-16s are the ONLY asset Pakistan has which are able to carry out ‘Night Time Precision Strikes’. Why are they important? – Because SSG [Pakistan Special Forces] operate at night and need accurate fire support to back their operations up.

    From the Indian perspective, Our F-16Cs are technically advanced than their Su-30MKIs, especially when our F-16s fly with an AWACS formation [Airborne Early Warning and Control System]. Our F-16s are the ONLY jets Indian Air Force has to worry about, because other jets our air force is flying are not jets, they are just ‘targets’.Recommend

  • Common Sense

    @Pakistani:
    I doubt he includes himself in the 70%. The tone of the article does not seem to suggest that.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    To the author
    It’s better to write on sensitive issue like when you have authority on the subject.Recommend

  • danish

    @Zain:
    There is always Sense in air that Pakistan cant use this F-16 against USA or India Esp in Case of Nuclear War .But that is not right Recommend

  • Pakistani

    author should instead write how to bridge gap between Pakistan and US and what likes about US which made him to do his practice in US because he is in a setting from where he can write lot of positive stuff instead propagating negative article like this.Recommend

  • sterry

    @Hypocrisy: I don’t know about how you describe hating – people in Pakistan may disagree with some aspects of US foreign policy but that does not mean that they hate Americans. The majority of Pakistanis respect American innovation, optimism, values such as liberty and freedom and their strong sense of independence. Your average Pakistani and your average American share the same human values that all of mankind share. Getting back to F 16s, I think your average Pakistani and your average American would agree on the need for a nation to have a strong deterrent in the face of aggression. Anyone with even a simple understanding of Pakistan’s geopolitical situation quickly understands why the nation has to be able to defend itself. When India pays more attention to starving millions on its streets instead of being the world’s biggest buyer of weapons, then Pakistan can afford to let its guard down.Recommend

  • sterry

    @Noor: There are adequate references to Indira Gandhi’s imfamous quote that Indian agression in the 1971 war was revenge for 1000 years of Muslim rule in South Asia. These comments are taken from Western reporters who commented in the aftermath of India actively arming and co ordinating attacks with Bangali rebels in Bangladesh. You can see how India is still ignoring UN resolutions that call for an impartial referendum in Kashmir so its people can choose to join Pakistan. Recommend