"Discouraged" by the resistance it was facing in the U.S. Congress to buy a small batch of 8 F-16 fighters, Pakistan is looking to Russia or France to buy replacements for 190 aircraft it wants to retire by 2020.
“We do need to retire 190 planes by 2020. And we already looking for various options,” a senior official told DAWN, as the country is still in discussion stage with the US to buy eight jets.
Jane’s reported recently that Pakistan may purchase 10 more F-16s if the current deal for eight of these fighter jets is successfully concluded.
“But we are looking at other options too, such as buying them from Russia or France,” the official said.
However, official noted that French aircraft were “very expensive, the Russians are not and they are equally good”.
In September last year, Russia offered to sell Su-35 planes to Pakistan, which are among the fifth generation aircraft.
Pakistani officials say that India’s defence purchases also influence their search for a matching technology. India is already working on a plan to replace its current fleet of planes with fifth generation aircraft by 2020, forcing Pakistan to do the same.
Pakistani officials point out that they also have a large-scale defence collaboration with China, “which is a great source of strength” for the country.
Pakistan is currently in talks with the United States to buy two single-seat F-16Cs and six twin-seat F-16Ds, along with associated equipment - for about $699 million.