Pakistan is said to launch its much-awaited Turkish corvettes on 14th August this year, marking 74 years since independence. Pakistan Navy had signed a contract with a Turkish state-owned defence contractor firm, AFSAT in July 2018 ($1.5 billion deal) to procure four state of the art warships.
The plan suggested that two corvettes would be manufactured in Turkey, while the remaining two would be developed in Pakistan, which meant Turkey would then transfer technological know-how to Pakistan as well.
According to a statement released by Pakistan Navy, “the MILGEM Class Corvettes will be state-of-the-art surface platform equipped with the modern surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons, sensors, and combat management system.
These ships will be among the most technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistan Navy and will significantly contribute to maintaining peace, stability, and balance of power in the Indian Ocean region.”
Turkish President @RTErdogan at Welding Ceremony for 3rd Milgem Ship for 🇵🇰 said there is great potential for Pakistan-Turkey cooperation in defense industry. He noted that signing of🇵🇰 🇹🇷 Strategic Economic Framework, in Feb2020, would further strengthen our ties. pic.twitter.com/2iC0im9jsY
— Pakistan Embassy Türkiye (@PakinTurkiye) January 23, 2021
Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) held the steel cutting ceremony of the Pakistan Navy’s fourth MILGEM-class corvette in June this year. All four corvettes are equipped with the enhanced surface, sub-surface and anti-air weapons & sensors, integrated through an advanced ‘Network-Centric Combat Management System’.
MILGEM corvettes are 99 meters long and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles. Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi had stated in 2020 that “when all four MILGEM class corvettes, which is their Turkish name, will be handed over to Pakistan navy then we will call them Jinnah class corvettes.”
The Pakistan Navy’s MILGEM class are 3000-tonne multirole Guided Missile Corvettes, configured with 16 MDAS VLS cells, two tri-cell launchers, Super rapid naval gun and torpedoes, including Aselsan machine guns.
Pakistan and Turkey have deep strategic relations. Last year Pakistan had also signed a Strategic Economic Framework agreement to facilitate the institutional development process for both countries to continue contributing to bilateral relations.
President Erdogan has previously stated that both Turkey and Pakistan exist in difficult geopolitical climates, so there’s a constant need for them to up their capabilities to face future challenges.
Pakistan has previously commissioned Damen built vessels in 2017, which was inducted in 2020, and this year it also acquired four Type 054 frigates from China. Pakistan Navy has been frequently upgrading its assets to match the contestation in the Indian Ocean Region.