US formally hands over 30 combat helicopters to Pakistan army


Rawalpindi : The United States formally handed over 26 Bell-412 combat Helicopters and four completely refurbished Cobra gunship Helicopters to Pakistan Army at a ceremony held at Qasim Aviation Base, Rawalpindi on Monday.

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Secretary Defence Kamran Rasool was handed over the Helicopters by US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson.

Secretary Defence thanked the US Government and said that induction of Bell 412 and Cobra Helicopters in Pakistan Army will significantly enhance our operational capabilities.

In his welcome address Director General Army Aviation, Major General Syed Taqi Naseer Rizvi thanked the US Authorities for their whole-hearted support and hoped that this cooperation will continue in future as well.

He highlighted the role of Cobra Gunship Helicopters and hoped the induction of Bell-412 would go a long way in fortifying the country’s capability to effectively combat against the menace of terrorism.

Speaking on the occasion, the US Ambassador said that US is fulfilling its commitment to Pakistan to meet its security needs and reaffirmed a long-term and strategic US commitment to Pakistan.

Patterson paid rich tributes to the “courage and professionalism” of Pakistan Army aviation personnel and declared them an asset to country’s armed forces and to the combined efforts to fight extremism in the region.

“This event demonstrates the continued commitment of the United States to cooperation with Pakistan,” the Ambassador said.

“Our military assistance programs are for the long term. They are the foundation for cooperation and engagement, and a way to strengthen our bonds as partners and allies.”

Pakistan and the U.S. embarked on a long-term $235 million project in 2004, to help build Pakistan’s army aviation capability.

During the first phase of the project, Pakistan leased the helicopters while the U.S. provided the resources, funding, training, and support to help Pakistan establish a strong and reliable helicopter fleet.

“Today we celebrate the beginning of Phase-II. The Pakistan Army now takes ownership of these helicopters,” the senior American diplomat noted.

“The U.S. will continue to provide support and training as Pakistan establishes a helicopter force capable of enhancing combat operations, providing security, and engaging in medical evacuations and humanitarian relief throughout the region.”

“The American and Pakistani armed forces have a long and rich history of cooperation,” Ambassador Patterson emphasized.

“This relationship is represented by more than five billion dollars in military programs over the last six years.”