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Jinnah class MILGEM Corvettes

The MILGEM Class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced stealth surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet. The MILGEM project is a Turkish warship program that aims to develop multipurpose corvettes and frigates that can be deployed in a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations.

The MILGEM class corvettes will be state-of-the-art surface platforms equipped with modern surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons & sensors integrated through a network centric Combat Management System. MILGEM corvettes will significantly enhance maritime defence and deterrence capabilities of Pakistan Navy. These ships will augment Pakistan Navys kinetic punch and will significantly contribute in maintaining peace, stability and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region.

The contract for four MILGEM class corvettes for Pakistan Navy with concurrent Transfer of Technology (ToT) was signed with ASFAT Inc, a Turkish state owned Defence contractor in 2018. The ToT entails construction of two corvettes at Istanbul Naval Shipyard while another two at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW).

MILGEM vessels are 99 meters long with a displacement capacity of 2,400 tons and can move at a speed of 29 knots. Corvettes are medium-sized boat which is bigger than normal patrolling boats and smaller than a warship but it can be used for any military purpose. It has capabilities to be used in any warfare missions. In the current era it is even better than big warships as it is the era of smart technology, which can be effective at forward bases and even easy to maintain.

The vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons & modern sensors including surface to surface, surface to air missiles, anti-submarine weapons and Command & Control system. Induction of this ship in Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the lethality of Pakistan Navys capabilities and contribute in maintaining peace, security and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region. These Ships are being constructed as per modern Naval Ship class standards with stealth features.

The MILGEM project began in 2000 to design and build a local fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates that would replace older ships. The Patrol and Antisubmarine Warship Project (MiLGEM) is one of the most important projects of the Turkish Armed Forces. Pakistan signed a contract for four corvettes for the Pakistan navy with the Turkish state-owned defense firm ASFAT in July 2018. The contract entails construction of two corvettes at Turkey while two at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). Construction of corvettes in Pakistan is aimed to provide impetus to local ship building industry and further enhance KS&EW capabilities.

In October 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi had cut the metal plate of the first MILGEM class corvette during a ceremony in Istanbul. On 04 June 2020, the keel laying ceremony of the first MILGEM class corvette for the Pakistan navy was held at Istanbul Naval Shipyard. Laying the keel is the formal recognition of the start of a ships construction and is often marked with a ceremony. Pakistan hoped to get its first MILGEM corvette by the end of 2021 as usually it took two years to completely manufacture a corvette.

The 2nd MILGEM Class Corvette will be delivered in early half of 2024. The keel-laying ceremony of 2nd MILGEM Class Corvette for Pakistan Navy held at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW). Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Turkey, H.E Mr. Hulusi Akar, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defence Production, Ms Zubaida Jalal and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi. The keel-laying of PN MILGEM Corvette as a historic event for Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan Navy, KS&EW and M/s ASFAT of Turkey. The ceremony was attended by representatives of M/s ASFAT Turkey, Istanbul Naval Shipyard and officials from Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Navy and KS&EW.

MD KS&EW Rear Admiral Ather Saleem welcomed the distinguished guests and highlighted that Karachi Shipyard is fully cognizant and aligned with the goals set forth by the Government and Pakistan Navy to pursue self-reliance in Defence Shipbuilding Industry. He emphasized that deep rooted friendship with brotherly country Turkey for this mega project will open new vistas of further cooperation in the field of indigenous warship construction and other defence sectors in Pakistan.

The keel laying ceremony of the third MILGEM class corvette for the Pakistani navy was held on 26 October 2020, at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW). Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Turkey, HE Mr Hulusi Akar, Minister of Defense Production of Pakistan, Ms Zubaida Jalal and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi attended the ceremony.

In July 2018, the Pakistani MoDP stated that it will receive complete transfer of technology and the transfer of intellectual proprietary rights for the design of these ships to Pakistan. Moreover, the fourth ship would not only be built at KSEW, but it will be the first indigenously designed and constructed frigate. The statement implied that the final ship would be a different potentially enlarged design from the MILGEM Ada. Considering that the PN has a penchant of terming its Type 21 frigates as destroyers,the term frigate could simply internal nomenclature for the MILGEM Ada corvette (i.e., not mean anything). However, at the 2018 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which took place in Karachi, Pakistan in 27-30 November, the PN confirmed that the fourth ship will be a different design. If ship #4 is different, then it could be anything from a stretched/enlarged PN MILGEM (i.e. a cousin of the I-Class) or a sibling variant of the I-Class.

When the construction of first ship is completed, it will be launched on sea as a prototype of Jinnah class, since Pakistani Milgem configuration will have a bigger displacement because of heavier missile payload and larger fuel tanks. It will need to perform navigation trials from the begining. This activity will reveal all manoeuvring, steering, sea-keeping, endurance characteristics of this ship at different speeds to correct calculations that has been done on naval labratory on design phase. All those also take time. When the ship proved its maturity to carry out the missions related with ships performance and target engagement capabilities, The qualification will be over and the ship will be handed over to Pakistan Navy.

On 24 January 2021 the Welding Ceremony of third ship of MILGEM class corvettes for Pakistan Navy held at Istanbul Naval Shipyard (INSY), Turkey. President of Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey, H.E Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi graced the occasion and jointly kicked off the project by performing the block welding. While addressing the ceremony, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted deep rooted relationships between the two strategically aligned nations. He underscored the defense collaboration for construction of MILGEM class warships as major milestone in Pak-Turkey defense ties. The President also underlined the Strategic Economic Framework signed between the two countries as step to enhance bilateral ties and reaffirmed Turkey's support in the field of defense.

Some felt the name Jinnah class should have been reserved for when Pakistan made its own aircraft carrier. The Navy generally doesn't name the ship until they commission it, the "Jinnah-class" came from a PN officer who spoke to the media at IDEAS 2018. But it wasn't used officially after that. If anything, since then, the PN referred to all 4 MILGEMs as 'corvettes,' and not frigates.

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Page last modified: 29-01-2021 18:54:47 ZULU