Islamabad, Oct 30 (IANS) Pakistan Saturday received three new F-16 aircraft from the US as part of 18 such fighter jets scheduled to reach the country by December.
The jets landed at the Shahbaz Airbase of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in southwestern Jacobabad city, media reports said.
It was initially reported that five F-16s will reach Pakistan in this consignment but only three arrived Saturday.
Senior officials of PAF were present at the airbase on the arrival of these aircraft.
Three other aircraft reached Pakistan in June as part of the consignment, while the remaining would be handed over by the end of December. Pakistani pilots were trained by the US Air Force prior to the handing over and they flew the aircraft in the Pakistani airspace.
A PAF spokesman said: 'Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has congratulated the Pakistani nation on enhanced strength of its fighter jets' fleet.'
Sources said the arrival of these five F-16 jets was scheduled for September 2010 but was delayed due to floods in August and September. The Shahbaz Airbase was partially inundated during the floods that wreaked havoc across Pakistan, leaving over 1,800 dead and over 20 million homeless.
The government of former Pakistan president Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf had struck a deal with the US for the purchase of 24 refurbished F-16 aircraft to enhance air warfare capacity of the country. The new government, after taking charge in 2008, decided to buy 18 additional new block-52 fighter jets.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at email@example.com)