NEW DELHI — The U.S. Navy on April 30 transferred the first two of eight P-3C Orions to Pakistan as part of its Foreign Military Sales program.
The Pakistan navy will have received all eight aircraft by 2012. The aircraft will provide Pakistan with the capability to conduct maritime patrol in littoral and deep-water environments, the U.S. Navy says.
“This represents the expanding strategic partnership between Pakistan and the U.S. and will fill an important gap in our country’s maritime security by helping us more effectively monitor sea lanes and provide for maritime traffic in the Arabian Sea,” Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani said during a ceremony at NAS Jacksonville, Fla.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Masiello, deputy assistant secretary of state for plans, programs and operations at the U.S. Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, praised the non-NATO ally, saying, “Pakistan commands the multinational coalition of Combined Task Force 150 in its maritime security operations to interdict extremists and support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom ... Our countries’ futures are intertwined, so now, more than ever, their struggles are our struggles.”
Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff visited several U.S. military facilities in Florida in March to discuss opportunities for continued coordination and cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan navies.
Pakistan navy pilots and aircrews are training at Patrol Sqdn. 30 (VP-30), based at Jacksonville, to “bolster Pakistan’s search, surveillance and control capabilities in support of maritime interdiction operations,” according to Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, commander, Navy Region Southeast.
- Neelam Mathews