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Pakistan Naval Modernization

After 1971 India-Pak war the navy opted for a modest acquisition program in the form of new Chinese built missile/ torpedo attack craft. Between 1972 and 1980, 12-SLAUGHTER class attack FPBs, 4 HUNAIN class attack craft and 4 HUCHWAN class hydrofoilcraft were delivered, followed by an acceptance of 6 ex-US GEARING class vessels.

During the 1980s, the growth of the Pakistan Navy was unpreceded. It virtually doubled its surface fleet from 9-principle surface combatants in 1980 to 16 by 1989,acquiring sophisticated long-range anti-ship missile and enhanced its maritime reconnaissance capabilities. In order to counter Soviet expansion and force it to withdraw from Afghanistan, the US strengthened Pakistanis Military forces.

In 1982 the Reagan administration approved US$ 3.2 billions military and economic aid to Pakistan. Pakistan acquired eight Brooke and Garcia-class frigates from US Navy on a five year lease in 1988. A depot for repairs, EX-USS HECTOR followed the lease of these ships in April 1989. However after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 US President George Bush was advised to no longer certify that Pakistan was not involved in the development of nuclear weapons and the Pressler Amendment was invoked on 1 October 1990. The lease of the first Brooke class frigate expired in March 1993, the remaining in early 1994. This seriously impaired the Pakistan Navy, which was composed almost entirely of former US origin ships. Pakistan began to concentrate on self-reliance for its defense production.

The two ex-RN LEANDER class frigates were acquired from UK in 1988 and extensively refitted in 1991/93. In 1988, the Pakistani and UK Government set- up a joint committee to explore future requirements during a low key visit of Lord Tref Garne, the then UK Minister of State for defence procurement. Discussion for the purchase of 6 ex-RN AMAZON class frigates began in 1992. In 1993-94 these ex-RN AMAZON class frigates were acquired and were modernized to meet the future requirement.

The first indigenously built large patrol craft PNS LARKANA was commissioned in January 1994. Success of the design of this craft led the Navy into building of additional craft including missile launch capable variants. Two have already been commissioned recently.

Until recently, Pakistan Navy's MCM forces would not have been able to deal with serious mine threats with only two ex-USN coastal minesweepers and eight type 312 drones to form its mine Warfare forces. But the acquisition of three new French mine hunters has brought a lot of improvement. The first vessel ex-FNS SAGITTAIRE was commissioned as PNS MUNSIF into Pakistan Navy in 1992. The second vessel PNS MUHAFIZ sailed for Karachi in Mar 96. The third vessel assembled by PN Dockyard was commissioned as PNS MUJAHID in 1997.

For replenishment at sea PNS NASR was acquired from Chinese Navy in Aug 87 and another support ship PNS MOAWAIN (Ex HMS POOLSTER) was transferred in Jul 94 from Dutch Navy. Both the ships have underway replenishment capabilities. Other auxiliary forces include two oil barges and two oil tankers built in Karachi between 1984 and 1992, two coastal tankers, two 20 utility craft and one 61 m survey ship.

Although the navy clearly needed to grow, its immediate future was threatened by a reduction in equipment brought about by the Pressler Amendment imposed in 1990. The Pakistan Navy had to return four Brooke (Badr)-class and four Garcia (Saif)-class frigates to the United States at the end of their five-year lease. In addition, one British-made destroyer, the Babur, was retired in 1994. At the same time, all three United States destroyers became fully operational, and an additional six Amazon-class frigates purchased from Britain were to be delivered in late 1994.

The submarine force is the main strength of the PN Fleet. The acquisition of an ex-US TENCH class submarine by Pakistan Navy in 1964 was particularly significant, not only because Pakistan became the second country after Indonesia, amongst the Indian Ocean littorals to operate a submarine, but it also brought a new dimension to naval warfare in the Indo-Pakistan context. The submarine actively participated in Indo Pak 1965 war but was lost in 1971 war while deployed on a mine laying operation off the Indian Coast.

Pakistan acquired 4 Daphne and 2 Agosta class submarines from French Navy in early 70s and late 70s respectively. The submarines were modified to fire Harpoon missiles in 1985. To strengthen it further Agosta 90 B submarine project was undertaken in early 1990s. First of the three submarines PNS/M KHALID commissioned and reached Pakistan in 1999. Whereas, the second submarine was assembled at PN Dockyard from components made in Cherbourg. The third submarine was built entirely in Pakistan.

In addition Pakistan navy also operates four Italian midget submarines. Three submarines have also been indigenously built at PN Dockyard. In 1991 a naval special warfare marine commando unit, with a strength of between 150 and 200 men, was established. Its functions, in addition to hull inspection and special operations, included operating the midget submarines.

Wuhan-based China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp (CSIC) is reported to have signed a contract in April 2011 to deliver six Type 032 Qing-class conventional attack submarines (SSK) from the Wuchang Shipyard. Each can carry three CJ-10K submarine-launched, 1,500km-range land attack cruise missiles (LACM) capable of being armed with unitary tactical nuclear warheads. The first Qing is a Test Platform to test the JL-2 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The Qings Pakistan signed up for won't be ready before the 2016/17 timeframe. A total of three such SSKs were reported to be on order from Chinas PLA Navy as well.

This claim must be taken with a grain of salt. The story is very poorly attested [there is only one primary instance], and in somre respects raises more questions than it answers. Type 032 Qing-class is a lot of submarine to be carrying only three torpedo sized cruise missiles. Most reporting suggests that the PLAN is only buying one of this type as an SLBM test platform, and the reported three units is too many for test purposes but not enough for operational applications. The export by China to Pakistan of the 1,500km-range CJ-10K cruise missile would be a clear violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.

In the 2010s Pakistan will be building:

  • At least 3 U-214 Submarines
  • Maybe 2-3 additional Agosta-90B Submarines
  • At least 2 "New Class" Frigates
  • At least 1 F-22P Frigate
  • At least 3 Milgem Class Corvettes
  • Fast Attack Craft

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. On 18 February 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for refurbishment of one OLIVER HAZARD PERRY Class Frigate and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $78 million.

The Government of Pakistan requested a possible sale for refurbishment of one OLIVER HAZARD PERRY Class Frigate, USS MCINERNEY (FFG-8), being provided as Excess Defense Articles (grant EDA notification is being submitted separately) with onboard spares, spare and repairs parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost of the refurbishment and support is $78 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be a partner in combating insurgents in Pakistan. Pakistan requires the capabilities of USS McINERNEY (FFG-8) to participate in U.S. and coalition led counter-narcotics and counter-piracy operations and to assist with Pakistans efforts to secure its maritime border. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing the ship into its armed forces. In March 2011 the first Oliver Hazard Perry frigate set sail for Pakistan. The ship is formerly known as the USS McINERNEY (FFG-8) and was commissioned in the Pakistan Navy as the PNS ALAMGIR (FFG-260) on August, 31, 2010 during a huge ceremony at the Mayport, Naval Station. That deal was reportedly the first step in an 8-ship purchase. Two to three further Perry class frigates would help matters "to build up its frigate force to about eight vessels, but hostility toward Pakistan in the US Congress essentially rules this out.

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. 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 F-22P and the ex-Greek Elli Class frigates were eagerly awaited by the Navy. More important than new capabilities is the numbers crunch that the Navy was facing. The six Type 21s wre not sufficient for all training and operational requirements. Operational requirements have been enhanced by participation in the Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP), and Pakistan was contributing one ship with an embarked helicopter to this operation, and this has put a strain on limited numbers. So the Elli Class ships will in the first instance alleviate some of this pressure as far as fielding a ship for CMCP is concerned. The commissioning into service of these ships would enhance participation with the CMCP.

Pakistan has signed a deal in 2011 for a 10 year lease of 2 Type 054A FFGs. The two ships that Pakistan would receive were serial number 525 and 526 inducted in PLAN in 2005.

In early 2013 Pakistan's navy took delivery of two 12-ton Bollard Pull Pusher tugs constructed at the KSEW, which handed over the vessels to Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Adm. Muhammad Shafiq last month. At that time the navy had on order with KSEW a 15,000-ton capacity tanker -- an example of the government's need to develop the country's indigenous defense manufacturing sector.

There was consideration of 4 modern corvettes to be built alongside with F-22p in Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). The competitors for modern corvettes may be French DCN Gowind 120, German TKMS MEKO A-100/D, and Turkish Milgem corvettes. The navy also planned to manufacture and procure additional mine hunters, tankers, missile and patrol boats.

Pakistan has a requirement for 4 corvettes and wants the first ship to be built in Turkiye while the rest in Karachi Ship Yards. Turkey and Pakistan committed to enhancing defence and defence industry ties at the beginning of May 2016. The programs on the table included the Pakistan Armys interest in the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 ATAK attack helicopter, the sale of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Super Mushshak trainers to Turkey, and two Pakistan Navy programs the upgrading of the Navys three Agosta 90B submarines and the possible purchase of four Ada-class (MILGEM) corvettes. The acquisition of thes four modern corvettes had been in the making for almost a decade.



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