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Pakistan - Navy

As the custodian of the country's coastline, territorial waters, and Sea Lines Of Communications (SLOCs) the Pakistan Navy has a vital role to play in the defence set-up of the country. The Pakistan Navy's primary role is to guard the country's territorial waters and oversee enforcement of jurisdiction over nearly 240,000 square miles of waters constituting Pakistan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Pakistan has 1050 km of coastline, 350 km in Sindh and 700 km in Baluchistan. Makran ranges cover a vast area that is about 400 km long and 250 km wide. A dangerous Subduction region is located about 100 km away from Makran coast that can be a cause of tsunami.

The navy is also tasked with protection of Pakistan's SLOCs, its 960km long coastline and its ports, especially the port of Karachi. Barely 150 km from the Indian border, Karachi has the only developed berthing facilities for handling the bulk of Pakistan's trade, naval dockyards, repair and overhauling facilities as well as the strategic national petroleum reserves. Another port of significance is Port Qasim, a more modern commercial port designed primarily for grain exports, but without naval shore facilities. Of lesser importance are the subsidiary ports of Pasni. Jiwani and Gwadar. Critical SLOCs are the maritime routes running from Karachi to the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal, East Africa and the Far East.

After the Passing of the UN Law of Sea Convention of 1982, Pakistan acquired an EEZ of about 240,000 square miles. In order to provide protection to this vast area, the Pakistan Government decided to raise the Maritime Security Agency (MSA), which was formally inaugurated on 1 January 1987. The MSA implements the local and international laws in the EEZ, and provides surveillance against poaching by illegal vessels and unauthorised survey by foreign craft. It also conducts SAR missions, and implements measures for control of pollution and fishery protection. Available SAR facilities include aircraft, surface vessels and a network for the reception of distress signals.

Secondary navy's mission comprise coastal surveillance; SAR duties, hydro-graphic surveys, maintaining navigational aids, and law enforcement. As regards in particular the latter, in recent years the navy's role has been expended to include narcotics interdiction, anti-terrorist operations, anti-smuggling, elimination of piracy and combating environmental pollution. The naval headquarters is situated at Islamabad but the fleet as logistic commands are in Karachi, together with most of the training facilities. During the late 1980s, in association with the expansion of the fleet, the Pakistan Government ordered the construction of a new major base at Ormara, 200km west of Karachi. The Ormara Project was named "Jinnah Naval Base" after the founder of the nation.

During the 1980s, the Pakistan Navy went through an unprecedented period of growth. It virtually doubled its surface fleet from nine main surface combatants in 1980 up to 16 by 1989, also acquiring sophisticated long-range anti-ship missiles and enhancing its maritime reconnaissance capabilities. This expansion process also proved the navy's ability to manage the added administrative, maintenance and operational loads.

In 1994 the navy had some 22,000 personnel. The force included a small Naval Air Arm and the approximately 2,000-member paramilitary Maritime Security Agency, charged primarily with protecting Pakistan's exclusive economic zone. The naval reserve consisted of about 5,000 personnel. In 1994 the navy had four commands: COMPAK--the fleet; COMLOG--logistics; COMFORNAV--naval installations in the north of Pakistan; and COMKAR--naval headquarters and the only major base at Karachi. There were long-range plans to build a new naval base at Ormara, 240 kilometers west of Karachi, and to improve harbors at Gwadar and Pasni to help alleviate overdependence on Karachi.

The navy's principal combatants in 1994 were six submarines of French origin equipped with United States Harpoon missiles; negotiations with the French for three additional submarines have been reported. The navy had three active old destroyers (one of British and two of United States origin), four United States-made guided missile frigates, six other frigates (two from Britain and four from the United States), and two United States-made and one French-made mine warfare craft. One destroyer and four frigates carried Harpoon missiles; the navy had acquired an unknown number of Mistral close-in surface-to-air missiles from France. There were eight missile craft, and thirteen coastal combatant and patrol craft, all of Chinese origin. The Naval Air Arm had four combat aircraft flown by air force personnel and armed with Exocet missiles and sixteen armed helicopters. The delivery of three P-3C Orion long-range reconnaissance aircraft from the United States had been suspended since 1990.

The Pakistan Navy is moving from the old to new technologies at a rapid pace. The navy will have to consolidate the new weaponry, which will take time as this will involve a basic restructuring of personnel and logistics to suit future needs.

The PN Surface force is divided into various squadrons according to the types of ships. It is a modern and highly dependable force. Over the years the Pakistan Navy has had the experience of operating a wide range of ships ranging from cruisers to destroyers. Currently the Pakistan Navy operates ex UK Type-21 Class Destroyers and ex UK, Leander Class Frigates alongside a variety of the latest mine-hunters, auxiliaries and missile boats. With indigenous construction work in progress the Pakistan Navy has inducted into the fleet several indigenously constructed missile/gun boats and mine-hunters, all of which have been sea-proven and cost effective.

The submarine force long consisted of two HASTMAT class (AGOSTA type 70) built between 1976 and 1980 and four HANGOR class (DAPHNE type) built between 1967 and 1970. The HASHMATs were modified in 1985 to fire Sub-HARPOON depth-to-surface anti-ship missiles. The HANGOR class boats, close to obsolescence, were replaced by three new KHALID class (AGOSTA 90B type) submarines.

The main assets of the naval air wing currently consist of P-3C ORION and improved Breguet ATLANTIC anti-submarine and maritime patrol aircraft, four F-27 maritime surveillance and EW aircraft, plus ship-borne helicopters, comprising Mk45 SEAKINGs, LYNX ASW/attack types and SA-319B ALOUETTE IIIs. The Marine Corps is the youngest force in the Pakistan Navy. With its establishment the navy has become capable of operations on four dimensions, i.e., on the sea with surface combatants, under the sea with submarines, in the air with naval aircraft and on the ground with the Marine Corps.

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Page last modified: 05-01-2017 17:54:14 ZULU