NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuter): Leasing U.S. radar planes to Pakistan would damage the preparedness of the U.S. military, the New York Times quoted a top Defense Department official as saying today. “In the short. Term, leasing Early Warning Aircraft to Pakistan will certainly degrade our capability. We’d be short on aircraft that we need to defend the fleets”, said Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

But he said Pakistan’s need for planes was great and that the Reagan administration is still studying the request.

Pakistan made an urgent request last week to lease U.S. Radar planes to defend against stepped up border raids by warplanes based in Afghanistan. Leasing would require American military personnel to operate them in Pakistan.

The only two aircrafts under consideration, officials have said, are E2CS, known as Hawkeyes, which are made by the Grumman Corporation and are used by the U.S. Navy, and E3Aa, which are made by the Boeing Company and are commonly referred to as AWAGS.

The New York Times said the Defense Department hopes to give Pakistan an answer on which planes will be available when Pakistani military officials visit Washington on May 19.

In a document presented to Congress in March, Armitage detailed concerns about leasing such planes to Pakistan. He said leasing was expensive, impossible to justify to Congress under U.S. law and “not a viable option for meeting long-term military requirements”, of Pakistan.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 15, 1987