The US Defence department has awarded nearly $one-and-a-half billion contract to Lockheed Martin Corp for manufacturing of 18 F-16 C/D fighter aircrafts to be provided to Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales programme.
"The procurement of 12 operational single seater F-16C Block 52 aircraft and 6 operational two seater F-16D Block 52 aircraft will be accomplished under the firm fixed price portion. This effort supports foreign military sales to Pakistan." the Department of Defence announced in its daily contracts schedule.
This time $497,551,058 has been obligated, it announced.
The Defence Department, which overseas sales of military weapons to foreign governments, did not say how soon the fighter jets would be delivered.
Pakistan has ordered a total of 111 F-16A/B aircraft. Of these, 71 were embargoed by the US due to Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme. Of these 71, 28 were actually built but were flown directly to the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB for storage.
Over the years, various plans were conceived for these 28 aircraft, Pakistan wanted to get the aircraft or their money back. They were offered to various nations, none of which were interested, ultimately the US Navy and USAF entered them into service as aggressor aircraft.
After Pakistan's help in the war on terror, the US lifted the embargo. In 2005, Pakistan requested 24 new Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds. At this moment, it is still debated in the US whether these aircraft will be delivered.