Pak to ask US to replace spy aircraft lost in terror attack

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the two surveillance aircraft were part of Pakistan's "strategic assets and we need them".

"Besides five such planes (we are expecting from the US), we will talk to them (US) for handing over the two," Gilani said yesterday.

The two aircraft were destroyed on May 23 by Taliban militants who had attacked the Mehran airbase where they were parked.

Lockheed-Martin's P3C Orion is a four-engine turbo-prop, anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

As a patrol aircraft, it is said to have advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection equipment.

The planes can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons.

US had handed over two P3C Orion aircraft to Pakistan Navy in late April 2010. By 2012 Pakistan Navy is expected to take delivery of a total of eight P3C aircraft.

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