Pakistan, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, said on Wednesday that it had acquired eight P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft from the United States, which would help boost its naval capabilities.
The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress of the plan to supply the planes to Pakistan in November, raising concerns in Pakistan's rival and neighbor India which has since considered the aircraft for its own military.
The Pentagon said at the time the aircraft would improve Pakistan's border security and its ability to restrict movement of militants.
However, Pakistan Navy spokesman Captain Aamir Naeem Baig said the aircraft were designed for maritime surveillance and could not be used for chasing militants along the land border with Afghanistan, where Islamic guerrillas are most active.
A statement from the Pakistan Navy said the aircraft, worth up to $970 million, were being provided free by the United States and would be fitted with modern avionics and missions systems by the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp.
The Bush administration also approved shipment of two F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in July after Washington lifted a two-decade ban on the supply of the planes to Pakistan.
The policy charge was in recognition of Pakistan's role in helping the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities in 2001.
Admiral Shahid Karimullah, Pakistan's chief of naval staff, said the Orions would "add a new dimension to the offensive punch of Pakistan Navy fleet".
Pakistan's fleet of P-3Cs now stands at 10 with the induction of eight new planes.