The US will replace two P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes of the Pakistan Navy that were destroyed in a terrorist attack on a naval airbase in Karachi last month, according to a media report today.
The US has confirmed that it will replace the aircraft, diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. The American-made aircraft, each worth over $30 million, were destroyed when a group of heavily armed militants stormed the PNS Mehran airbase in Karachi on May 22.
Ten security personnel were killed in the attack before four of the attackers were gunned down or blew themselves up. Under an agreement, the US is set to supply nine P-3C Orion aircraft to Pakistan to enhance its surveillance capabilities.
Pakistan had received five aircraft so far, of which two were destroyed in the recent attack. Four more are currently being upgraded in the US before their transfer to Pakistan. The US ostensibly provided the aircraft to boost Pakistan's capabilities to keep a watch on terrorist activities along its coastline.
Experts say the Orions play a crucial role in the Pakistan Navy's efforts to monitor the movements of Indian warships in regional waters.