WASHINGTON - The United States State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan of eight Global Response Cutters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $350 million, to safeguard its coastal areas, it was officially announced Friday.

“The Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale,” the announcement said.

“The Government of Pakistan has requested the purchase of 8 43-meter Global Response Cutters (GRC43M). Each Cutter will be a mono-hull design made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP),” the agency said. Also included in this sale: outfitted 8 25mm or 30mm Naval Gun Systems, 32 M2-HB .50 calibre machine guns, 32 7.62mm guns, 8 8- meter Rigid Inflatable Boats, ballistic/armour protection of critical spaces, command and control equipment, communication equipment, navigation equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training, US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and programme support.

“This 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,” the agency said.

“This sale will enhance Pakistan’s ability to enforce the rule of law over its coastal areas to safeguard seaborne energy corridors, deter the outbreak of piracy along the north Arabian Sea, and curtail the trafficking of narcotics and other illicit goods.

“These vessels provide the Pakistan Navy with the capability for medium to long endurance coverage of its 660 miles of coastline. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing GRC43M Cutters into its armed forces.”

It said the sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The GRC43M cutters Pakistan seeks are mono-hull boats, about 141 feet in length and made of glass-reinforced plastic. The principal contractor for the deal would be Westport Shipyards, which is located in Port Angeles, Washington State.