ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will ask the United States to supply it two additional PC-3 Orion planes for its Navy to make up the deficiency of the loss of two planes which were destroyed by the terrorists on Sunday evening at Mehran Air Base Karachi in an act of terrorism.
Pakistan being an ally of the US in the so-called war on terrorism reserves the right for making such demand. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) that will discuss various aspects of the matter in its meeting on Wednesday could take a position about the demand.
Pakistan’s plea has strong backing in view of the act of terrorism that caused the destruction of the two planes. Pakistan Naval Aviation is an important arm of the Pakistan Navy and assists in the surface and submarine flights to guarantee the safety of Pakistan sea borders. The loss of the planes could weaken the capacity of the Navy in actions against the terror activities across the sea. The US is supposed to provide two such planes by the end of the year according to earlier agreed schedule.
Well placed sources told The News here Monday evening that Prime Minister Gilani has asked Defence Secretary Lt Gen (r) Syed Athar Ali to proceed to Karachi to make an assessment on ground at the Mehran Base so that he should put up detailed preliminary report about the gory incident at the DCC. General Athar who is uncle in relationship of late Lieutenant Yasser Abbas who laid down his life in fighting with the terrorists at Mehran Base, has gone to Lahore to receive the dead-body of the martyred and he will be proceeding to Karachi from Lahore after attending his Namaz-e-Janaza.
The deceased was six feet and two inches tall young man whose father Dr Jaffar Abbas belonged to Medical Corps of the Army and retired as colonel. Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Noman Bashir who spent his whole night at the Naval Headquarters here after the initiation of the act of terror on Sunday night at Mehran Base, got in touch with the local command in Karachi and kept on guiding it regularly. He left for Karachi in the following morning from the Naval Headquarters.
The headquarters remained on its toes the whole night. The CNS will submit detailed technical report about the whole terrible episode in the DCC, the sources said. The sources pointed out that Pakistan Navy’s aviation force currently consists of three Westland Lynx - anti-ship/anti-submarine/transport helicopters, six Westland Sea King Mk45 - Anti Submarine/ Anti Surface Warfare helicopters (Based at Karachi), eight Aerospatiale SA-319B Alouette III - transport/anti-ship helicopters, seven Lockheed P-3C Orion - maritime surveillance/ anti-submarine warfare aircraft/airborne early warning. Future supply of seven more under an agreement with Lockheed Martin signed in 2006; two upgraded P-3C Orion delivered on 7th Jan 2010 while one was delivered in Nov 2009. Another two advanced P-3C Orion aircraft to be delivered soon (Two of the upgraded version have been destroyed overnight terrorism action), seven Fokker F27-200 Friendship - maritime surveillance aircraft, four Hawker 850 - VIP transport aircraft, two Breguet Atlantique, one maritime surveillance/anti-submarine warfare aircraft, thirty two Dassault Mirage V - anti-ship attack aircraft flown by PAF which are based at PAF base Masroor in Karachi, (operated by the PAF), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, twelve Harbin Z-9EC anti-submarine warfare helicopters equipped with a surface-search radar, low frequency dipping sonar, radar warning receiver, Doppler navigation system and armed with torpedoes.