Pakistan navy got the first of the eight Orion aircraft ahead of schedule from the United States as part of a $1.3 billion defence deal, officials said.
Pakistan will get eight P-3C Orion aircraft as part of a US military assistance package till 2009. The price tag for the jets and upgrades is around $970 million, private INP news agency quoted the officials as saying.
This is an improvement in command-and-control capabilities as Pakistani navy has until recently been flying three far less capable Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft and five Fokker F-27-200/400 aircraft, it quoted a naval official as saying.
The contract also includes upgrades to aircraft communications and avionics systems, plus training device assets, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operations and maintenance training, and logistics.
The upgrades will be done through depot-level maintenance overhaul and mission-systems upgrades in the US and Pakistan, although the exact locations have yet to be determined.
The eight P-3Cs are part of a total buy worth $1.3 billion. Other weapons included in the entire package are 2,000 TOW-2A missiles, 14 TOW-2A Fly-to-Buy missiles, 60 Harpoon missiles, six Phalanx rapid-fire 20-millimeter guns, and the upgrade of six additional gun systems. This 2005 delivery beats the initial first estimated delivery date of 2006.