US decides to sell 160 MRAPs to Pakistan in programme worth $198 million



State Department says the deal will have no affect on the military balance within the region. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: US State Department has decided to approve a possible sale of 160 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) for around $198 million, a defense security cooperation release said on Friday.

According to the State Department determination, Pakistan will buy 160 Navistar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) for an estimated cost of $198 million.

The potential sale will have no affect on military balance in the South Asian region the release said.

The principal contractor of the sale will be Navistar Defense Corporation based in Michigan and will require two US government representatives and 24 contractors in Pakistan for 18 months to monitor de-processing of vehicles upon delivery, provision of training, diagnosis and repair within the time period.

DSCA has delivered the required certificate to US Congress to notify it about the potential sale. The US Congress will still need to clear it on order for the sale to go through.

The MRAPs which Pakistan will purchase include 110 MaxxPro Dash DXM, 30 MaxxPro Base DXM, 10 MaxxPro Dash DXM Ambulances, and 10 MaxxPro Recovery Vehicles with protection kits, spare parts, repair kits, documentation, personnel and equipment training.

“The proposed sale will 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.”

It further stated that the sale of MRAPs will ensure that Pakistani soldiers can effectively operate in hazardous areas within the country.

With the acquisition of these vehicles Pakistan will be able to provide security to its soldiers at par with US is able to provide against mines and improvised explosive devices.

Interestingly, the release hinted that Pakistan already has some of these vehicles. The determination was made after Pakistan had “Pakistan, which currently possesses MRAPs, has successfully demonstrated the ability to operate and maintain the vehicles in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and will have no difficulty absorbing these additional vehicles into its armed forces,” the release added.

Pakistan had previously requested MRAPs through the US Excesseive Defense Articles (EDA) programme where it wanted excess vehicles being transported back from Afghanistan to be sold to Pakistan. This way, Pakistan would have saved on shipping the vehicles from EDA pools in far off countries like Kuwait or even the US mainland.

However, at the time, US said the have not, nor do they intend to transfer EDA from Afghanistan to any neighboring country, including Pakistan.

The US had commissioned and deployed over 12,000 MRAPs in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007 onwards, where they became transport vehicles for troops along routes that were notorious for mines and improvised explosive devices. To date, IEDs remain the largest cause of US troop casualties in Afghanistan.


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