KARACHI: Two modified P3C maritime surveillance aircraft, made in the United States, were inducted into the PNís aviation fleet on Tuesday.
The two new additions to PN aircraft fleet comes one year after the navy suffered the loss of two P3C Orion aircraft in the May 22-23 audacious attack on PNS Mehran, the main aviation base in Karachi. The two destroyed aircraft, however, have not been replaced while those inducted were already in the pipeline.
ìThe aircraft modified with latest avionics/sensors are part of the US assistance being provided to Pakistan Navy under the Foreign Military Funding programme,î said a statement issued by the navy in this connection. Pakistan Navy is to receive a total of six such aircraft from the US in batches of two each. The first batch was inducted into the PN in 2010.
A PN spokesman said the new addition to the fleet had extended the navyís surveillance capability which would help Pakistan Navy maintain requisite vigil in the countryís vital area of interest in North Arabian Sea, the maritime area in proximity of Pakistan which is regarded as an important trade and energy corridor for the global economy and is home to intense maritime activity, both legal and illegal and thus warrants continuous guard.
Apart from the P3C Orion aircraft, the PNís air fleet is strengthened by the availability of Atlantique reconnaissance aircraft, Fokker F-27 transport and surveillance aircraft, Alouette, Sea King, and Chinese Z9EC helicopters.
Speaking at the P3C aircraft induction ceremony, the chief guest on the occasion, Vice Admiral M Zakaullah, welcomed the addition of P3C aircraft, which would significantly add to the combat potential of the PN fleet. The induction ceremony held at the PNS Mehran was attended by a large number of serving and retired PN personnel.