A top American diplomat sent a written reprimand to the chiefs of the Pakistani air force in August accusing them of misusing U.S.-supplied F-16 fighter jets and jeopardizing their shared security, according to documents obtained by U.S. News.
The communication came months after India claimed one such F-16 shot down one of its fighter jets during a days-long skirmish in February over the contested region of Kashmir, which would amount to a fundamental violation by Pakistan of the terms governing the sale of its U.S. fighter jets and a dangerous form of military escalation among nuclear powers.
A source who viewed the August letter, written by Andrea Thompson, then-undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, says it serves as a direct response to U.S. concerns about the F-16 use over Kashmir in February, though the letter itself does not specifically reference the incident.
Addressed to the head of the Pakistani air force, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, the letter began by relaying the State Department's confirmation that Pakistan had moved the F-16s and accompanying American-made missiles to unapproved forward operating bases in defiance of its agreement with the U.S.
Using diplomatic language, Thompson, who has since left government, warned the Pakistanis that their behavior risked allowing these weapons to fall into the hands of malign actors and "could undermine our shared security platforms and infrastructures." (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Among other points, this report appears to confirm that combat aircraft sold by the United States to some foreign customers, if not all, allow the United States to monitor at least their position, and possibly other sovereign information including their armament fit and operations.
It appears to confirm a rumor from some years back that, when investigating an F-16 that had crashed, Pakistani Air Force officials found a transmitter they did not know was fitted to their aircraft, and which they suspected was used to transmit data about the aircraft’s operations to overseas.)