ISLAMABAD    -   The United States would provide spare parts and maintenance support system under the suste­nance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which is required to maintain the operational readiness of aging F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force which it acquired from the United States over the past 39 years in different phases.

Credible sources told The Nation that both Pa­kistan and the United States held several rounds of talks this year to finalise the maintenance and system support agreement and finally reached the agreement, which was approved by US adminis­tration. The Pakistan Air Force would be able to maintain its fleet of total 85 F-16 fighter jets of dif­ferent models with the supply of spare parts un­der a sustenance package by the US.

The under sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16s fleet, is now with the US Congress for ap­proval which is expected to approve in the coming weeks. Last week, the US State Department had approved the potential sale of sustainment and re­lated equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at up to $450 million, with the principal company be­ing Lockheed Martin Corp as supplier of the spare parts and provision of maintenance facility.

Pakistan had told US authorities that the suste­nance package required for upgrading Pakistan’s F-16s fleet to crush terrorism in the western bor­ders. The United States approved the deal by reject­ing Indian concerns and referred the matter to the US Congress. The Lockheed Martin Corporation will be the principal contractor for the sale valued at an estimated $450 million, according to a statement on the official website of the Defense Security Coopera­tion Agency, which delivered the required certifica­tion and notified US Congress about the deal.