Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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US arms Pakistan with combat aircraft, trainer jets

The US has handed over to Pakistan 14 combat aircraft, 59 military trainer jets and 374 armoured personnel carriers, which were earlier used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the US withdraws its forces from neighbouring Afghanistan, the major defence articles have been transferred to Pakistan under its ‘Excessive Defence Article’ category, an internal Congressional report has said.

India had in the past have opposed the transfer of such arms to Pakistan as it believes Islamabad would eventually use the fighter jets against it. According to the internal report prepared by Congressional Research Service (CRS)– an independent research wing of the Congress– Pakistan has either made full payment or will make payments from its national funds towards the purchase of 18 new F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft worth $1.43 billion.

This include F-16 armaments including 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; 1,450 2,000-pound bombs; 500 JDAM Tail Kits for gravity bombs; and 1,600 Enhanced Paveway laser-guided kits. All this has cost Pakistan USD 629 million. Pakistan has also paid USD 298 million for 100 harpoon anti-ship missiles, 500 sidewinder air-to-air missiles (USD 95 million); and seven Phalanx Close-In Weapons System naval guns (USD 80 million).

Under Coalition Support Funds (in the Pentagon budget), Pakistan received 26 Bell 412EP utility helicopters, along with related parts and maintenance, valued at USD 235 million. Pakistan is also receiving military equipment with a mix of its national funds and America’s foreign military funding. These include 60 Mid-Life Update kits for F-16A/B combat aircraft (valued at USD 891 million, with USD 477 million of this in FMF).

Pakistan has purchased 45 such kits, with all upgrades completed to date. This include 115 M-109 self-propelled howitzers (USD 87 million, with USD 53 million in FMF). Under Frontier Corps, and Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund authorities, US has provided four Mi-17 multirole helicopters (another six were provided temporarily at no cost), four King Air 350 surveillance aircraft, and 450 vehicles.

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