Dawn News

US to replace two P3C Orion aircraft

This picture taken on May 23, 2011, shows the burnt wreckage of a P-3C Orion aircraft at the PNS Mehran naval airbase. – Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: The US has decided to supply two P3C Orion aircraft to Pakistan to replace the aircraft that were destroyed in the PNS Mehran attack on May 22nd, diplomatic sources told DawnNews.

According to sources, the US will also be supplying F-16 aircraft and its spare parts.

Moreover, it is also expected that the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen will soon be visiting Pakistan to convey US President Barrack Obama’s message, sources added.

Official sources had earlier told Dawn that the destruction of the two four-engine all-weather P3C Orion aircraft would temporarily affect the Pakistan Navy’s counter-terrorism and surface and underwater reconnaissance operations.

The aircraft is designed for surface and underwater reconnaissance and anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel operations. It is rated as the fastest turbo-prop long-range maritime patrol (LRMP) platform used worldwide and is also called the airborne destroyer.

The aircraft is 116 feet long and has a maximum speed of 410 knots. Its distinguishing features are long endurance, multiple role capability, variety of integrated sensors and above all the capacity to carry a wide array of anti-surface and subsurface weapons such as harpoon, torpedoes, depth charges, mines and rockets. It can fly a mission of at least 18 hours.


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