US approves $952 mn sale of helicopters, missiles to Pakistan

Washington: The Obama administration has notified the US Congress it's selling Pakistan $952 million worth of attack helicopters, air-to-surface missiles and other military assistance saying it will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The State Department has approved the sale saying the "helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counter terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia," the Pentagon's defence sales arms said Tuesday.

The proposed sale will include 15 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters and 1000 AGM-114R Hellfire II Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $952 million, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said.


Barack Obama. Pic/ PTI

The package also includes 32 T-700 GE 401C Engines (30 installed and 2 spares), 36 H-1 Technical Refresh Mission computers, 32 Helmet Mounted Display/Optimized Top Owl, 17 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems and system integration and testing.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia," the announcement said.

It "will provide Pakistan with a precision strike, enhanced survivability aircraft that it can operate at high-altitudes."

"By acquiring this capability, Pakistan will enhance its ability to conduct operations in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and other remote and mountainous areas in all-weather, day-and-night environments," DSCA said.

Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces,it said.

"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," DSCA said.

The principal contractors will be Bell Helicopter, Textron in Fort Worth, Texas; General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts; The Boeing Company in Huntsville, Alabama; and Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Maryland.

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