The Governments of Pakistan and Qatar have successfully completed a military sale of the entire combat fleet of Westland WS-61 Sea King helicopters of the Qatar Emiri Air Force to the Pakistan Navy. The deal comprises of a total of 10 helicopters. Deliveries of the fleet started in July 2021 and include 5 Mk. 3A Anti-Submarine/Anti Surface Warfare variants (able to carry two Exocet anti-ship missiles) and 5 Mk. 2 commando (troop carrier/utility) helicopters. The medium-lift British-built WS-61 Sea King helicopter is used for maritime utility & anti-ship warfare roles, equipped with a Sea Searcher radar in an enlarged dorsal radome & being able to carry two AM-39 Exocet missiles with a range of over 100 nautical miles, but was primarily designed as a hunter-killer for submarines and can carry four Mk. 46 torpedoes and/or depth charges and a dipping sonar. The utility variant can transport 28 fully equipped troops. It is unclear if the helicopters will be used for spare parts for the Pakistan Navy’s existing fleet of WS-61 Sea Kings or will be put into service after overhauling and maintenance. Actual use will likely be a combination of the two. These helicopters will become part of the Pakistan Navy’s efforts to ensure peace and security for both Pakistan, the region and the international maritime community in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
The Pakistan Navy also intends to procure several new maritime helicopters to place on new Pakistani warships under construction as well as for the land-based naval warfare squadrons of the Naval Air Arm, reportedly with the AW-101 Merlin and AW-159 Wildcat as the two top contenders.