Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lockheed Says Pakistan Not Flying UAE Block 60 F-16s

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report Aug 11 , 2010 , p. 10
Neelam Mathews

New Delhi — Lockheed Martin is denying reports that Pakistan’s pilots are flying United Arab Emirates (UAE) Block 60 F-16 fighters.

The reports come as the downselect for India’s 126-fighter Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program draws closer. Lockheed Martin is offering its Block 60 F-16IN, called Super Viper, in that competition. There is concern in certain circles that in a combat situation, India would not have an advantage if Pakistan is flying the same type of fighter.

“This is highly unlikely,” says Michael Griswold, director of advanced development programs at Lockheed Martin. “We’d have known this ... There is no evidence [of it]. There is an agreement between the U.S. and the UAE that [they] won’t allow that to happen.

“Besides,” he adds, “the Block 50 that Pakistan has is a different plane ... And it takes a lot of training [to fly it]. The Indian air force knows their threats and the Request for Proposals is detailed.”

Meanwhile, the company has received a request for information (RFI) from the Indian navy seeking information on the F-35B short take-off/vertical landing variant, and the C version for carrier operations.

The navy, which plans to build its second indigenous aircraft carrier, is considering catapult launch.

An RFI for the F/A-18 for the navy has also gone to Boeing, according to Vivek Lall, vice president of Boeing Defense Space & Security. Rafale also has been asked to submit a response to the RFI.

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