Pakistan acquires eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday said that it had acquired eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft from the United States, which would help boost its naval capabilities.
The Pentagon notified the US Congress of the plan to supply the planes to Pakistan in November, raising concerns in India which has since considered the aircraft for its own military. The Pentagon said at the time the aircraft would improve Pakistan’s border security and its ability to restrict movement of militants. However, Pakistan Navy spokesman Captain Aamir Naeem Baig said the aircraft were designed for maritime surveillance and could not be used for chasing militants along the land border with Afghanistan.
A statement from the Pakistan Navy said the aircraft, worth up to $970 million, were being provided free by the United States and would be fitted with modern avionics and missions systems by the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Admiral Shahid Karimullah, chief of the naval staff, said the Orions would “add a new dimension to the offensive punch of Pakistan Navy fleet”. He said that it was a significant achievement and would augment Pakistan Navy’s capability to actively monitor its waters.
Pakistan’s fleet of P-3Cs now stands at 10 with the induction of eight new planes. reuters