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Pak signs USD 65 million deal for US frigate

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The guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG 8). A U S Navy photo

WASHINGTON (PTI): Pakistan has signed a USD 65 million deal with the United States for the "hot transfer" of refurbished American frigate USS McInerney by August 31.

The contract for the "hot transfer" of the USS McInerney, a Perry-class guided missile frigate, was signed by senior officials of the two countries here on Tuesday. Under the agreement, the Pakistan Navy will take over the vessel on August 31.

The sale of the frigate, which would be inducted into the Pakistan Navy as PNS Alamgir at a ceremony in the US, was approved by the United States Congress in September 2008.

Commissioned in 1979, the frigate would be handed over after a refurbishment that includes anti-submarine capability that has been paid for with the foreign military aid provided by the United States to friendly countries.

On completion of the refurbishment in January next year, the vessel will sail to Pakistan to join the country's naval fleet.

Pakistani officials described the deal to acquire the warship a major "milestone" towards further strengthening the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.

"The successful completion of this contract will pave the way for acquisition of more vessels of the same class for the Pakistan Navy to raise a squadron of eight Perry-class frigates," a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy said.

"This will greatly enhance the operational readiness of the Pakistan Navy," he added.

In the last couple of years USS McInerney has been mainly involved in successful counter-drug operations.

Pakistan plans to raise a squadron of eight Perry Class Frigates.

The frigate is being transferred under the Foreign Assistance ACT and the Arms Export Control Act in which Pakistan is considered a major non NATO Ally and is able to receive older unneeded US military equipment.

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