Pakistan to get US surveillance plane this year

Pakistan to get US surveillance plane this yearIslamabad, Jan 28 - Pakistan is expected to receive maritime surveillance P3C Orion aircraft from the US this year, state media quoted the country's ambassador in Washington as saying.

Sherry Rehman, who has been meeting with top American officials as part of efforts to restore the full range of bilateral ties, has said both the civil and defence cooperation between the two sides are gaining momentum, reported Xinhua Monday citing Radio Pakistan.

Pakistan's Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafique, currently on a visit to the US, discussed matters related to ongoing cooperation between Pakistani and American navies and expressed satisfaction over senior level exchanges.

Pakistan signed an agreement with the American defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin seven years ago, for the delivery of seven Orion aircrafts.

The navy received three of these aircrafts in 2010, while two more were delivered in 2011. In addition to the Orions, the navy is also operating seven aging Fokker F27-200 Friendship naval surveillance aircrafts, which it had acquired during the 1980s.

The Orions are one of the most popular maritime surveillance aircrafts in the world, being used by the naval forces in a number of nations such as the US, Japan, New Zealand and Brazil.

The aircraft were first inducted into the US Navy in 1962, and so far more than 750 units have been manufactured. The US Navy recently decided to replace its Orion fleet with the Boeing P-8A Poseidons.

The Pakistani ambassador said that Pakistan-US interactions are important to push forward bilateral defense ties and said the Pakistan Navy's key role in securing sea lanes in North Arabian Sea as part of the anti-piracy international coalition has been widely appreciated in the US. (IANS)




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