Boosting air defence: F-16s replace Americans at Jacobabad airbase

Published: February 19, 2012
An F-16 lands at the PAF Base in Jacobabad. PHOTO: FILE

An F-16 lands at the PAF Base in Jacobabad. PHOTO: FILE


The Pakistan Air Force (PAF), in a significant move, has equipped the newly renovated Jacobabad airbase with close to three dozen F-16s, including the advanced Block 52+ version of the aircraft.

Pakistan has spent over $3.75 billion on both the revamping of Jacobabad airbase and the acquisition of new planes, officials told The Express Tribune. The air force is in a better position to encounter any threats after acquiring the new F-16s which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, they added.

Defence analyst Lt General (retd) Talat Masood said this was a significant development especially as it had come months after the Americans had quit the airbase. Masood, however, warned of a shift in the strategic balance of the region, saying “India’s new aircraft deal with France would leave Pakistan far behind”. For all intents and purposes, he said, Pakistan should continue its cooperation with the US to enhance its defence capability. “Pakistan and the US are reciprocal when it comes to regional stability in South Asia,” he added.

India is all set to reach an agreement with France over the purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) costing over $12 billion, making it the largest international defence deal by value in recent years, according to Indian media. Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had formally announced the completion of Jacobabad Airbase on  February 12. The Chief of Air Staff said that all American personnel, including the Training Support Team for the new F-16s, have left after training PAF pilots and other technical staff.

“The new F-16 Block 52 fleet will pave the way for establishing the balance of power in the region,” said General Kayani.

“This airbase is now the largest platform for modern aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” a senior PAF official told The Express Tribune. “It’s an outcome of years long cooperation between Pakistan and the US.”

Pakistan had purchased 18 new F-16 Block 52+ aircraft, while 14 used F-16s were supplied free of charge by the US. The US Training Support Team consisted of over 200 personnel, including staff to train PAF personnel on making the aircraft operational. PAF has also recruited over 4, 000 employees for the newly renovated strategic airbase which is located close to the western frontier bordering both Iran and Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (76)

  • Pervez Mastaan
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:46AM

    F-16s belong to the Kufur


  • Akhtar
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:09AM

    F-16’s are far superior than French Rafale India has bought since the F-16’s are upgraded & battle tested. Infact, we should buy more F-16’s than the Chinese junk aircraft which even their airforce is not buying!

    What matter’s is Quality & not Quantity, especially during war. Unlike in the past kargil, 1971 & 1965, we are much better prepared & can fight!


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 11:29AM

    That is wonderful! However, for how long before another hullabaloo kicks up that alienates Pakistan and worsens the economy?

    General (R) Talat Masood! Why should we continue to rely on the USA for equipping our defense forces? What happened to our own self-reliance and effort? Is it lost or existing only in talk shows? Alternatively, has every successive government of semi-literate politicians conveniently forgotten it?

    Pakistan must start living within its own thought, intelligence and effort. Salams to Pakistan


  • Ali Wali
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Negative equity, I wish well being of ordinary Pakistanis was priority of our establishment.


  • Kamran
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:37AM

    We need to return these junkboxes back to the americans. These dont stand a chance agains the Rafales, sukhois that the Indians have. We must buy only state of the art JF17’s. Only JF17’s. No more american junk. The Indians will taken them out like flies. China is our only friend. America will extract its pound of flesh in the form of Balochistan. Moreover we cannot afford these planes. Better we send them back.


  • owais
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:39AM

    so we are concerned about india leaving us behind in military toys? what about health, education, democracy, tolerance, economy etc?


  • Ashvinn
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:40AM

    good now we can have nato supplies restarted, becoz Pakistan wants to balance India. Good we have enemy like Pakistan, alas China is not so good to us Indians


  • Munna
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:55AM

    I hope we dont forget Jf-17 Thunders.


  • Shabash
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Security from India first . . .#1. Everything else will follow naturally when the environment is safe from Indian proxy wars.


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 12:01PM

    It costs 4 tonnes of Onions to be exported to pay for 1 iPhone. How many F-16s are we talking about here?


  • BlackJack
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:02PM

    Good stuff Pakistan! Glad to see that you guys have USD 3.26 bn to spend – and planes that can carry nuclear weapons to boot! Truly said – ‘I am become death – the destroyer of worlds’…


  • Shahid
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:36PM

    We need to make sure American didnt install any bug in software of palanes. So they will start bombing their own base or have self destructive programing. Better to focus on JF-17 Thunders then spending and risking on american planes. American cant be trusted. Long live Pakistan.


  • Indian
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:37PM

    Good.. pakistan must work for it’s defence. When threat perception is high, It improves sense of security among masses and increases credibility and legitimacy of army.


  • mind control
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:39PM

    I thought F-16s are also American.

    So it is actually Americans replacing Americans at the airbase.


  • Sudhir Rana
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Pakis pl don’t try to equate yourself to India, otherwise you will have to sell every men and women your country for competing with India.
    India is expected to spend $112 billion on capital defense acquisitions over the next five years in what is being described as ‘one of the largest procurement cycles in the world.’ Indian military planners are focused toward China in future strategic planning.


  • AN
    Feb 19, 2012 - 12:55PM

    F-16 modern aircraft? That too US giving its deceptive ally state of the art. Ever heard of the kill switch installed in F-16. Ask Turkey


  • Kashif Khan
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:03PM

    @Sudhir Rana: WE WILL EAT GRASS.


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 1:05PM

    Work with Russians and Chinese, and try to get weapons from other markets, we shouldn’t depend on US for our economic and military needs


  • Tabi
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:12PM

    These are useless aircrafts. Alas, we could spend this money on Boluchistan. We could built schools and hospitals for our poor. This military is worst than British Raj. The British had built institutions like railways, courts, health care and everything. Oh God, save us from this established, they are worst than Israeli military.


  • AN
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:31PM

    @Pakistan politics Russia don’t help you, neither they are going to sell you anything as they have a strategic defense partnership with India from cold war era when you were holding hands with US.

    @Pakistanis During war you can forget about F-16 spares and services and what not US would have programmed in such a way where you cannot lock US fighter jet let alone shooting it down. What if US attacks you to take control of our nukes? F-16’s are sitting ducks. By 2020 India will have 300+ MKI’s, ~200 Rafale’s, may be even 50 stealth aircrafts.How are you gonna counter such huge air force. Surely none in the PAF inventory can match MKI or Rafale.


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 1:36PM

    You use American Technology,given for free, to protect yourself but loathe them and call them names. Talk about being grateful!


  • AN
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:36PM

    @Akthar F-16 superior than Rafale? Show me one defense expert saying this. Just because F-16 is battle proven does it also mean best fighter jets like F-22 and F-35 or say even Eurofighter are inferior to F-16 since they have not been in any combat yet. FYI US wouldn’t have given you all state of the art avionics, they already know your true colors. You are just kidding yourself.


  • Ubaid
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:42PM

    While fighting with Pakistan they will seize their engines..Do you believe
    ,cat will let you know,how to climb up a tree…Now I came to know how
    our aircrafts fell on regular basis…Just because never they want to sell
    a new aircraft,but they seize the other one….May b not….!May b..
    Do you know! v have a strong air force,Yawn!
    No we don`t…Recommend

  • Indian
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:57PM
  • Indian
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Read wikipedia about F-16 . It says :- “Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers.”

    On the other hand Dassault Rafale is already proven in Libya and Afghanistan. And it is the most most advance aircraft currently in operation today..

    Only F-35 would be better than Dassault Rafale but that would come in operation from 2016..

    There is a difference between operational aircraft and developed aircraft.

    And remember we had rejected US offer even though they were offering better version of F-16s than yours.


  • Thoughtful
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:11PM

    My taxes pay for instruments of death in the hands of a state that talks of nuclear weapons with relish and wont agree to a no first use policy.


  • MarkH
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:17PM

    If we actually did something like that, it would take every last bit of your detection ability into consideration. You wouldn’t find them. Even regardless of that, there’s no gain that could be worth the aftermath of one being found, no matter the odds.
    Well, being the American monster I am. You know I’m lying about that. You guys are annoying but few hold your unhealthy obsession with hating everyone who have something you want but can’t have because you won’t even acknowledge the faults that cause it. It’s always everybody else. Always. Yet you’re the only ones who get blown up on a daily basis and it’s so bad you still deny what is going on when they claim responsibility.
    Hint for a better future: If we supported the ones attacking you, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it the way people like TTP do. You see, we don’t obsess over strategic depth and turn a blind eye to their depravity for their support. We’re fully capable of fighting our own fights. You just don’t get how little of a threat Pakistan truly is. You just rely on that bomb thinking it’s intimidating. The thing is just scary due to the incompetence of the possessor. Not a concern of not being able to deal with you. You believe in conspiracies when in reality, there’s no need to be anything other than straight forward.


  • Saleem
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:34PM

    India has gone mad spending so huge sum on its air capability. In case of war with Pakistan , it would be shaken by guerrilla warfare within its borders. There are already separatists movements in 12 provinces that are recognized by UN and HRW. The south side is always loathing the north side and has similar issues as we are having in Balochistan. The afghan war has shown very well that superior air power can not counter the ground guerilla offensive and in case of war , that is exactly what will grill down India if not the nukes.


  • Salman
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:37PM

    why all the latest new F 16s are deployed at Afghanistan border why not at Sarghoda base to counter any Indian adventure. Pakistan should acquire Chinese J10Bs by 2015-18 also we need to ground F7s and mirage 2000s ….these obsolete planes are crashing like Indian flying coffins Migs now


  • Nomi
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:42PM

    Americans replaced by american technology. Excellent going.


  • faha
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:56PM

    you are an indian hmmmm


  • Pasha
    Feb 19, 2012 - 2:59PM

    What good are these toys if they can’t be used at time of action, dozens of Pakistanis are killed weekly, only when innocents get protection then one can say these toys are good!

    Instead use these millions of dollars for education & health!


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 3:00PM

    Zindabad Pakkistan

    Continue to serve for Americans. While India is an independent country.


  • sawera
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:34PM

    @Shiwangi Narayan:
    what about russia,france???


  • ahsan
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:47PM

    American some how always create excuse to land on Pakistan soil for all types of activities and less of positive work and now they are funding ,arming and instigating our Baloch brothers and above all blackmailing us by raising bill about Ba-stan in violation of intnl rules.


  • human
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:47PM

    India and Pakistan, what about billion hungers in your coutnry, what is the use of these war planes, if your people are dying of hunger?


  • Adeel
    Feb 19, 2012 - 3:49PM

    @Sudhir Rana: Do your homework/ reasearch then say something. FYI you might want to check these links out Indian Air Force” Losing Edge Over Pakistan Air Force – (by Indian media) and then American pilot making fun of Indian pilots


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 4:17PM


    Russia and France are our friends. India is not their slave contrary to it Pak is serving for US that is why they handed over these F-16s to it.


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 4:54PM

    RIP SUmki 30


  • Indian
    Feb 19, 2012 - 4:59PM

    @Adeel: haha you must be feeling happy about it… :)… don’t worry, we know what we have to do…..And this is the problem. You guys watch one youtube video and do selective perception.

    If you want to learn about India then you should watch CNN-IBN, Times Now, NDTV, etc.. headline today is not watched by people and that is why they create different kind of reports to make it sensational.

    And that report says that ration of fighter plane has decreased but that does not mean that it has become 1:1… it is still 1:1.6 says loosing the “edge”… what do you mean by that??.….
    but anyways by looking at the no of viewers for that video i am convinced about disillusionment of pakistani youth.. no surprise though ..


  • Adeel
    Feb 19, 2012 - 5:21PM

    @Indian: Well seems like you carefully watched only how many viewers viewed it. I guess that’s what you care about the most, how many viewers viewed it rather than its actual content…:) Worry about your youth then worry about other country’s youth. Talk about disillusionment, your youth cares a lot about what the Bollywood disillusionment has to say rather than the actual truth itself..


  • Cautious
    Feb 19, 2012 - 5:30PM

    You don’t have enough money to purchase fuel to keep your power plants running but you have enough to spend billions on refurbishing an airbase which you obviously didn’t need. Seems like your priorities are out of whack and once again your elected govt appears to have no ability to control your military.


  • sarita talwai
    Feb 19, 2012 - 5:33PM

    I cannot believe how blood-thirsty we all sound.Would you be as excited if the govt spent millions of dollars on education, healthcare,. potable water,libraries,the environment….This kind of news would barely get a comment or two.We are so warped!


  • Think Again
    Feb 19, 2012 - 5:40PM

    $3.75 billion just to renovate Jacobabad Airbase? Can someone tell me who approved their budget?. Thanks


  • Khan
    Feb 19, 2012 - 6:04PM


    You guys are annoying

    Thank you Mark for painting everything black .. Not all 180 Million individuals think the same way, If they did we wouldn’t be having any relationship with the US or buying these F16s at all ..I really don’t know where some people get this idea of putting a bug in air crafts but it sounds really stupid, If it was true no one will be spending huge amounts on buying them. All they do is to sell downgraded version and not share the technology.
    Anyways, thank you for calling me annoying too apparently without even knowing me or causing any harm to you. Thank you indeed.
    P.S – JF 17 might be of no use but its a better investment for future .. if we want to, one day build our own state of the art air crafts.


    Feb 19, 2012 - 6:18PM

    i think most of the people who are commenting on this topic are still thinking that a war between india & pakistan will going to happen in future,thats why they start comparing each of their war asset with india,my dear brothers prirorties of india are different they have set their goals to become ecnomicaly stronger rather then to indulge in this rubbish comparison. its a humble request for all thi people to change their mindset,and help your country to become ecnomicly selfsufficent.Recommend

  • Malik
    Feb 19, 2012 - 6:24PM

    LOL that must be the joke of the day! @Ali Wali:


  • AN
    Feb 19, 2012 - 6:25PM

    @Pakistan Politics What makes you think F-16 can win against Su-30MKI? Do you even know the capabilities of MKI? MKI can detect and shoot down F-16 before F-16 can even see MKI in the air.


  • Shah G
    Feb 19, 2012 - 8:02PM

    what for ?? we are frens with U.S who wants to liberate balochistan and India is MFN.

    why are spending millions ?


  • Sal
    Feb 19, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @AN, you news are quite outdated. Check again with Sardar ji , I think MKI can detect and shoot down an F-16 even before it is sent to assembly line. Now that is one strong defense !


  • Feb 19, 2012 - 9:41PM

    I hope that Pakistan Air Force has thoroughly swept the systems in these F16 aircraft to ensure that US has not installed spying equipment, which will send back information to United States through their communication satellites.

    Some may think it paranoia, but the recent shocking news that US sent CIA spies with earthquake relief aid should be a warning that they will go to any lengths to accomplish their objectives. As this air base is located in Baluchistan and the recent resolution in US Congress is meant to stir trouble in Baluchistan, we do not unknowingly want to provide them a spying facility.


  • Freeman
    Feb 19, 2012 - 9:43PM

    @Sudhir Rana: 3000 Indian childrens die everyday because of no enough food for them. Was’t it better that your government could have used that money to buy food for those childrens and save their lives?????? Is’t it shame instead they are using money on weapons event hat money is more needed to spend on poor human beings??

    45% of indian childrens are under weight accroding to indian government. It could have been better idea if india use all that money on the welfare of indian childrens and their families to save their lives.

    It is very simple to point finger towards your neighbours but i think you should take care of your own country. Paksitan does not need to compete on this with india.


  • hammad
    Feb 19, 2012 - 10:19PM

    No more war!


  • Yash
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:11PM


    strict action was taken against that pilot who abused IAF…..learn about the whole story

    u quote one video…..i can quote hundreds where it proves f16 stands nowhere in modern world…

    better have full knowledge


  • Yash
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:14PM


    people like you will always and always see the obstacles….

    temme sumthin….INSPITE OF 3000 children dying….underweight blah blah….india is far ahead of pakistan and is still progressing enough….

    where does that make pakistan stand??


  • Yash
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:15PM


    better work to make ur own country prosper rather than pointing out defects in others


  • tomas
    Feb 20, 2012 - 12:09AM

    Akhtar: F-16′s are far superior than French Rafale India has bought

    A comment about Rafale’s from an American on you tube ????? read and digest.

    I think the u.s needs to put it’s pride aside and buy some Rafale’s. From what I seen and read this aircraft is amazing. The f35 is going no where fast and these would be great for out Navy. I’ve never seen such an agile aircraft as this as well. I’m all American and love everything American, but this Jet is awesome.


  • Nash
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:05AM

    Better be prepared than sorry. Let Pak pilots enjoy the F-16. Read the news, India is loading itself with fighter planes – they just bought a huge number from Russia and previously from the US and other countires .. . .and just question WHY and for Whom??


  • stenson
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:52AM

    @Nash: Let the Indians waste billions on foreign jet fighters because at the end of the day the pilot makes all the difference. The Pakistani Air Force has always trounced the larger Indian Air Force because the martial native Pakistani pilot and soldier is made of better stuff. It’s sad that India wants to waste billions on weapons when over 500 million Indians don’t have access to a toilet but that is their priority. Whatever they buy, I would still put my money on the Pakistani jawan and pilot. It is only the incompetence and treachery of our own leadership and real estate hungry generals which prevents Pakistani military from performing to its full ability.


  • IndianDude
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:51AM

    Pakistan should not have wasted $3+ billions of F-16s. They should have waited for the super power china made JF-17, they will soon be available to buy at your local WalMart store.


  • Bilal
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:07AM

    Beware all Folks: many Indians are giving comments here while portraying themselves as Pakistanis.
    Long Live Pakistan
    Long Live USA


  • Hindu Indian
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:17AM

    You should have responded to the article for Mr Hoodbhoy, he complaints that Pakistanis are not showing interest in science and here you are who has created a new “scientific” way to compare the Indian pilots with their Pakistani counterparts sans planes. Thats really good. But then on the same lines didnt the 95000 Pakistani soldiers surrender to 3000 odd Indian soldiers. I think the new soldiers are from a different breed .


  • sarmad
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:29AM

    The new Block 52 F-16’s are of no use to the air force nor does it improve the air defence since it’s HUD is directly controlled by the american systems and they can block the missile launch whenever they want to.. so who are we kidding? We just bought a trash worth billions of dollars ! Show it off… Should have invested in something better !


  • sandipkhanna
    Feb 20, 2012 - 9:34AM

    @Kashif Khan: Well! well! well! what else are you eating now?One has to concede this to ZAB.He exhorted generations of Pakistanis to eat grass and they did. :). Talk of the pied piper of Pakistan.


  • abdulazeez
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:23AM

    @ Akhtar; we rejected F-16 because its a 3rd generation aircraft French Rafael is a 4th generation aircraft.


  • abdulazeez
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:31AM

    @ Akhtar; America is a no.1 enemy of you ,why you r buying their Aircrafts. you should buy your all weather friend chinese JF-17 crap.


  • Truthbetold
    Feb 20, 2012 - 10:57AM

    “Pakistan has spent over $3.75 billion on both the revamping of Jacobabad airbase and the acquisition of new planes, officials told The Express Tribune. The air force is in a better position to encounter any threats after acquiring the new F-16s which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, they added.”

    There is an error in this statement. While the F-16’s can be nuclear capable, the ones supplied to Pakistan are not. Moreover, according to the contract agreement signed by Pakistan, Pakistan is not allowed to make any modifications to the aircraft without the approval of the American government.


  • Truthbetold
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:00AM


    Relax. These planes were paid for by the Americans from their aid dollars to Pakistan.


  • NRM Rao
    Feb 20, 2012 - 5:04PM

    @Kashif Khan:


  • Grace
    Feb 20, 2012 - 8:26PM

    @abdulazeez: Doesn’t matter whether it’s a Chinese plane or a US plane, India can waste billions on French planes while their people die of starvation. That’s their business. Pakistan can at least maintain a small quality air force like it’s always done and still beat the Indians because we all know a Paki pilot is better than some Hindustani type pilot!


  • ahmed
    Feb 21, 2012 - 12:42AM

    @Grace: You must have experienced it from the 1971 war right ?? or all the 4 wars ??


  • G. Din
    Feb 21, 2012 - 3:54AM

    @Grace: to abdulazeez
    @stenson: to Nash

    “Whatever they buy, I would still put my money on the Pakistani jawan and pilot.”
    Making a virtue of a necessity, eh Stenson? Is there anyone else you can depend on unless it is the Chinese you expect to fights your wars for. Anyway, you can’t use Pakistani money anywhere else. Might as well bet it on the very martial Pakistani jawans and pilots. Where do all of them disappear to during a hot war?


  • niazi
    Feb 21, 2012 - 12:26PM

    simple question if MKI are such capable then why indians are going for RAFEL ???


  • AN
    Feb 21, 2012 - 3:24PM

    @niazi MKI is a air superiority fighter not a multirole whereas Rafale is a Multirole fighter capable of air to ground attacks, interceptor and air to air combat as well.


  • Truth writer
    Feb 21, 2012 - 4:19PM


    Please read this article (headline and contents both) to see the real problem of indian youth….


  • Chakradhar Nayak
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:43AM

    We are belong to same parent. Because of coldwar and big power we are facing the present problem.


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