Lahore: Successful accomplishment of Mid-Life Upgrade and Falcon STAR configuration for PAF F16s culminated with a graceful closing ceremony that took place at Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) – Ankara, Turkey. Air Marshal Sohail Aman, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations), as Chief Guest of the ceremony represented senior leadership of Pakistan Air Force.
Air Marshal Sohail Aman, while addressing the ceremony, read the message by Air Chief Marshal, Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, in which the PAF Air Chief said, “In this era of rapid technological advancement, Pakistan Air force (PAF) is entrusted with great responsibility of providing defence of the aerial frontiers, as well as supporting the Sister Services. Thus, our quest for excellence continues by optimum utilization of the sophisticated assets on our inventory, procuring the state-of-the-art equipment and upgradation of the existing ones. In this connection, the successful completion of the Mid-life Upgrade and Falcon STAR Configuration of the PAF F-16s in Turkey, is yet another milestone achieved. Indeed, Turkey has always been a trusted friend of Pakistan, and in our Air Force-to-Air Force relations has proved its worth as an ally and partner in various joint ventures. No doubt, the Mid-life upgrade programme was a gigantic task, which was undertaken with great expertise and professional excellence. Certainly, the cooperation of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), counts a lot in accomplishment of this worthwhile assignment. With the success of this project, PAF once again assures the entire nation with great pride that it will continue its endeavours to maintain its status as a 21st Century modern Air force. To protect the aerial frontiers of the beloved motherland, PAF will always remain an Air Force, as envisaged by Father of the nation: ‘Second to none’.”
The Ceremony reflected classic aviation partnership between Pakistan Air Force, United States Air Force, Lockheed Martin Aero- F16s OEM and most importantly TAI that endured Pakistan-Turkey venture in which our F16 aircraft were configured with new capabilities involving structural and avionics retrofit. This modification brings about performance competencies which of course is the basic criterion for modern war-fighting machines of the contemporary times. After implementing these modifications, platforms stand responsive to national defense which makes the Mid-Life Upgrade program, a huge undertaking for both countries.
Timely rollout of last batch of modified aircraft subsequently illustrates priority and sincerity that TAI as a huge industrial base has afforded to Pakistan Air Force. The timely production of aircraft in a professional manner indicates basis of trust and confidence, between Pakistan and Turkey, as two brotherly nations. Up gradation of these F16 aircraft would act as a force multiplier in prompt fulfillment of PAF’s strategic operational goals.