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Pakistani military to beef up air recon capability

The Pakistani military plans to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and long-range radar spotting aircraft to boost its air reconnaissance and observation capability, Defense News, a military news publication, reported citing an announcement made by Chief of the Pakistani Staff Admiral Nomana Bashir.

The Pakistani admiral reportedly made the announcement during a visit of the Mehran airbase in Karachi, where a ceremony for the transfer of a Fokker F-27 plane and the inauguration of an installation for the testing of T-56 engines that will be used to train maintenance personnel was held. The P-3c Orion planes of the Pakistani patrol aviation will be fitted with T-56 engines.

In addition, the Pakistani military is assessing the capabilities of aerial drones of various types for use in reconnaissance, including target-finding at sea and on land. The Pakistani military has tested the S-100 mid-range aerial drone with vertical takeoff and landing produced by the company Shibel aboard a type-21 frigate.

Some 15 types of UAVs have been tested, a representative of the Pakistani military said. The tests continue, but the S-100 appears to be the clear frontrunner.

The program to purchase P-3B Orions, which are fitted with the U.S. long-range radio detection system Hokai-220 (AEW), also continues. During the IDEAS-2008 air show in Karachi, a Lockheed Martin representative announced that planes for the modernization program had already been chosen.

Admiral Bashir also announced that the Pakistani military was expecting to purchase Z-9EC antiship helicopters from China for use on four new-type Sword F-22P light frigates (one of the frigates will be built at the Karachi shipyards in Pakistan). The first such helicopter is expected in Pakistan this year.

The admiral added that negotiations on a contract for the purchase of three U-214 non-atomic subs from Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) will be concluded soon. The contract has been estimated at $US 1 billion (773.7 million euro).

Source: ARMS -TASS
Translation: RusNavy.com

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