The U.S. State Department has approved Pakistan’s request for a possible sale of U.S. military hardware that includes attack helicopters, missiles, and communications equipment at an estimated cost of $952 million, according to an April 6 press statement of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is the lead agency within the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for arms sales, training and services to allies, and maintaining military-to-military contacts with allied nations.
“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 U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia,” the DSCA said in the release.
The statement also notes that the U.S. weapon deliveries are solely meant to “provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia.”
The DSCA furthermore is careful to emphasize that, “[t]he proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.” However, this will do little alleviate Indian concerns over this new U.S. arms package should it be approved by the U.S. Congress.
Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reports that “U.S. defense companies are engaged in a three-way tussle with Russia and China to sell weapons to Pakistan, complicated by the need to avoid upsetting neighbor India and its even larger arms’ import market.”
In detail the package includes:
(….) 15 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters, 32 T-700 GE 401C Engines (30 installed and 2 spares), 1000 AGM-114 R Hellfire II Missiles in containers, 36 H-1 Technical Refresh Mission computers, 17 AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Systems, 30 629F-23 Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency Communication Systems, 19 H-764 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems, 32 Helmet Mounted Display/Optimized Top Owl, 17 APX-117A Identification Friend or Foe, 17 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems, 17 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, 18 AN/APR-39C(V)2 Radar Warning Receivers, 15 Joint Mission Planning Systems, and 17 M197 20mm Gun Systems.
Also included are system integration and testing, software development and integration, aircraft ferry, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is $952 million.
Last week, the Pakistani government also confirmed the purchase of eight new submarines from China (see: “Confirmed Pakistan Will Buy Eight Chinese Subs”). From 2010 to 2014, Pakistan was one of the top five importers of military equipment worldwide, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Despite the State Department’s blessing, U.S. Congress will have the final say in approving this new dispatch of arms to South Asia.