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F-22P PNS Zulfiquar / Type 053H2 Jiangwei-II

In May 2003 it was reported that Pakistan's navy had revived negotiations to acquire at least four F-22 (Jiangwei-II Class/Type 053H2) frigates with deliveries by 2013. Initially Pakistan planned to sign the contract before the end of 2003, with delivery of the first ship from China by 2005. A subsequent three F-22s were to be built at Pakistan's Naval Dockyard in Karachi, with the last of these delivered by 2009.

The first was to be built in China and as of 2005 was expected to have been accepted by Pakistan by the end of 2009. The cost of the four ships is estimated at $600 million – a bargain considering the cost of just one US Arleigh Burke-class DDG is over $1 billion. Also included in the deal were six Z-9C medium helicopters that can carry both air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles. The new ships replaced an equal number of Pakistan’s British-built ex-Leander class frigates.

While Pakistan will fund the construction, China agreed to extend credit if needed. This increased cooperation between the two countries increased tension in New Delhi, as India increasingly saw China as a potential threat, all the worse if in league with arch enemy Pakistan. The four frigates were part of a contract signed in April 2005 between China’s State Ship-Building Corporation and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense Procurement. The deal included training of Pakistan Navy and shipyard personnel. As a deal sweetener, one frigate was to be built in Pakistan.

In October 2005 the Ministry of Defence Production signed a $600 million contract with China Shipbuilding and Trading Company (CSTC) for construction of four F22P frigates for Pakistan Navy with Transfer of Technology (TOT). Three ships are to be built in China whereas the fourth ship was to be constructed at Karachi Shipyard. The F-22P frigates are equipped with state of the art weaponry and sensors. The construction project is to be completed by 2013. Addition of these ships will strengthen the PN fleet with much needed advancement and prowess.

A model F22P put on display by Karachi Shipyard in 2005 indicated that the design had undergone some major changes. The changes include a newly added rear mast on which the China-made meter wave radar is installed. The bridge was redesigned so as to avoid acute angling of the surface and enhance stealth features. In the original plan, the frigate was to employ LY60 SAM, but Pakistan decided to use HHQ7 SAM. The helicopter hangar was also redesigned to accommodate more China-made ESM/ECM facilities. Another difference from the Chinese Type 053H3 (Jiangwei II) FFG is that the F22P is equipped with two 630M CIWS produced by license from Russia. The hull sonar may be from Ukraine. The F22P has increased its length from the original 114.5m to 118m, and the beam has been changed from the Chinese design of 12.4m to 13.2m and draft of 10.2m.

The first F-22p frigate was to be delivered to Pakistan Navy in 2008 and the other three by 2013, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Thair said after completion of his visit to China and Indonesia on 22 May 2006. The Naval Chief expressed complete satisfaction over Pakistan's frigates deal with China. Transfer of technology is key element of the contract, which was signed on 4 April 2005. The keel for construction of the first F-22P frigate was to be laid at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai in 2006.

The naval Chief said that the fourth frigate would be constructed in Pakistan. The contract included upgrading of Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, training and technical assistance by the Chinese side during construction of fourth F-22P frigate.

On 27 June 2006 it was announced that China would build four F22P Frigates for Pakistan Navy and transfer technology under an agreement. The signing ceremony of the agreement was held in Ministry of Defence Production in Rawalpindi. Federal Secretary of Defence Production Lt. Gen (Rtd) Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzi and China s Director General International Corporation Mr. Zhou Wushen represented their respective countries. The two sides inked four agreements including technology transfer to Pakistan for building frigates. Pakistan navy will also receive shipborne helicopters used in anti-submarine warfare and will be armed with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles.

The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir performed the successful sea launching of the first of the four F-22P frigates being constructed by China at a ceremony held on 07 April 2008. Addressing the ceremony, Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir said the frigates will be equipped with the state of the art weapons and sensors systems and will carry Z9EC Helicopters being manufactured in China. Pakistan Ambassador to China Salman Bashir said that it was yet another milestone in long and glorious history of Pakistan-China friendship and strategic partnership. Under an agreement signed in 2005, PNS Zulfiqar [English: Sword] is the first of the four frigates that was constructed in close collaboration with Pakistan Navy at the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.

The second Pakistan Navy frigate F22P was launched on 31 October 2008, at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, China. This second frigate was to be commissioned as PNS Shamsheer on joining the Pakistan Navy in January 2010. The launching was done in the presence Consul General of Pakistan, Zafaruddin Mahmood as chief guest. By the end of 2008 the first ship (to be named PNS ZULFIQUAR) was under trials and due to be delivered to Pakistan Navy by end July 2009. Construction of third Ship (to be named PNS SAIF) is also progressing at a fast pace.

On 22 March 2007 Jane's Navy International reported that Pakistan had asked the US to supply it with six Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to augment its fleet of surface ships, according to the chief of Pakistan's naval staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir. Meanwhile, Pakistan was seeking to accelerate the delivery of four Chinese Type F-22P or 'Jiangwei II' (Type-053H3) frigates ordered in April 2005, and to decide on the purchase of another four frigates of a still-undefined type.

Pakistan's navy commissioned the fourth and last F-22P Zulfiquar class frigate at a ceremony at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works 25 April 2013. Commissioning of the PNS Aslat completes the $750 million technology-transfer contract signed in 2005 between Pakistan's Ministry of Defense Production and China Shipbuilding Trading Co.

On 21 April 2007 it was reported that Pakistan had ordered four more frigates from China, in addition to the four already on order. The the first of these was to arrive as early as 2008, to be known as the Zulfiquar class. These ships are the Chinese Jiangwei II class frigates. The first of the Jiangwei II's entered service in late 1998, followed by three more, and several more are still under construction. The new order is for the improved F-22P version of the Jiangwei II (053H3) already on order. China will build three F22Ps, while the other will be built in Pakistan. The 342 foot long Jiangwei II displaced 2,400 tons, but the F22P is expected to be a little longer, and heavier, perhaps as much as 3,000 tons. The F22P will probably carry anti-ship missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, a 100mm gun, anti-submarine weapons and a helicopter.

Pakistani defence officials claimed on 08 May 2012 that four additional F-22P frigates would be built in Karachi with the help of Chinese naval technicians. The officials claimed that the deal will go a long way in strengthening its navy, which faced new challenges in the face of changing political climate. By that time Pakistan had received three F-22P frigates from China, all of them built by the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard, Shanghai. A fourth frigate remained under construction at the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works, with Chinese technical support.

In November 2012 it was reported that China Shipbuilding Trading Corporation (CSTC) had secured an order from the Pakistan navy for four improved variants of the F-22P Zulfiquar class frigates, four of which had already been built for the navy, (three in China and one in Karachi). Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works stated that the Pakistan navy had recommended a large number of modifications for the follow on batch of frigates, and these modifications had been accepted by the Chinese designers. It was not immediately clear whether the eight FM-90 SAMs (Crotale copy) would be replaced by a larger number of more capable missiles housed in a VLS however. The SAM armament of the initial F-22P class frigates was a noted shortcoming of the design.

In 2012, Algerian military officials signed a contract with China for the construction of three C28A corvettes, based on the design for Pakistan's F-22P Zulfiquar-class, to be fitted with Chinese and Western systems [to be clear, these vessels are built in China, no Pakstan].

# Name Builders Ordered Launched Commissioned
Batch I
251 Zulfiquar Hudong Oct 2005 05-07 Apr 2008 Jul 2009
19 Sep 2009
252 Shamsheer Hudong Oct 2005 31 Oct 2008 19 Dec 2009
Jan 2010
253 Saif Hudong Oct 2005 28 May 2009 15 Sep 2010
254 Aslat Karachi Shipyard Oct 2005 16 Jun 2011 25 Apr 2013
3 Sep 2013
Batch II
5 Apr 2007
6 Apr 2007
7 Apr 2007
8 Apr 2007

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Page last modified: 20-03-2016 11:13:59 ZULU