Pakistan will no longer be able to purchase US-made F-16s as Islamabad failed to provide a letter of acceptance to the Pentagon by its May 24 deadline.
The US$699 million deal for eight F-16C D Block-52 multi-role fighters (2 C and 6 D models), was to be partially financed through the US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme but the US Congress disallowed selling the fighters at a subsidized price of US$270 and asked Islamabad to pay the full price.
Influential members of the US Congress said that Pakistan had not done enough to end the Haqqani network's sanctuaries on its soil and that it was growing its tactical nuclear weapons and short range missiles aimed at India.
Pakistan rejected the US offer stating that the fighters must come without change to terms already agreed upon.
While Pakistan claimed that the F-16s will be required for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, India had opposed the deal stating that the fighters would be aimed at India.
Pakistan also went shopping for the Damocles targeting pod from Thales of France to be mounted on the F-16s to give it all-weather, non-daylight environments and self-defence/area suppression capability.
Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported quoting diplomatic sources that providing the Letter of Acceptance would have kept the window open for re-negotiating the financing arrangement at a later stage. It also quoted Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Jalil Abbas Jilani, as saying “a dead-end has not been reached as yet.”
Islamabad had earlier said that the US was not the only aircraft supplier in the world and that it had other suppliers lined up to sell warplanes.