Washington: The US State Department has approved sale of USD 952 million worth of attack helicopters, missiles and other defence equipment to Pakistan to help Islamabad with its counter-terrorism operations in South Asia.
Notification for the proposed sale of the AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters and AGM-114R Hellfire II Missiles and associated equipment, training and logistical support has been sent by Defence Security Cooperation Agency to Congress.
"This proposed sale of helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia," the agency said in a statement.
The agency, however, said that the sale of the equipment and support will "not alter the basic military balance in the region."
The deal would also contribute to the "foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia."
Pakistan had requested 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 among other defence equipment.
The proposed sale includes a "precision strike, enhanced survivability aircraft" that Pakistan can operate at high-altitudes.
"By acquiring this capability, Pakistan will enhance its ability to conduct operations in North Waziristan Agency, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and other remote and mountainous areas in all-weather, day-and-night environments," it said.
The deal is to be implemented over a period of five and a half years, involving technical support, training and maintenance by US personnel.
It will also require three contractor representatives to stay in the country for three years to support this programme.
Included in the USD 952-million deal 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, USgovernment and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and programme support.
The principal contractors will be Bell Helicopter, General Electric Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
The agency noted that there will be no adverse impact on US defence readiness as a result of this proposed sale.