Upgraded Harpoons and Sidewinders to Pakistan
US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the Bush administration has authorised the sale to Pakistan of 40 AGM-84L air-launched and 20 RGM-84L surface-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and up to 300 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The missiles will upgrade Pakistani stockpiles that already contain older versions of each missile.
The deal for the Harpoon missiles is worth up to $180 million, and the prime contractors on the deal would be Boeing’s St. Louis, MO operation and Delex Systems of Vienna, VA. The deal for the AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles is worth up to $46 million, and the prime contractor would be Raytheon Systems in Tucson, AZ.
The DSCA noted that the deal will allow Pakistan to fly armed surveillance aircraft along its western border with Afghanistan and Iran. We at DID found this assertion odd, since the Harpoon missile upgrade is irrelevant for these purposes and the Sidewinder upgrade does not significantly change the balance of power vis-a-vis the Iranian Air Force. As such, we interpret this as a veiled allusion to the fact that the missile sale was Pakistan’s quid pro quo for continued armed aerial surveillance of the Afghani border, which remains a focus of Taliban and al-Qaeda infiltration. Since the missiles simply replace earlier versions rather than providing a major capability upgrade like the thrust-vectoring AIM-9X, the sale also minimizes diplomatic issues with India.
India Monitor (May 10, 2005): US Approves Military Equipment Sales to Pakistan