China has recently started construction of an export version of one of its advanced warships for Pakistan as part of a major arms deal, according to China State Shipbuilding Corp, a large State-owned defense contractor.
According to a report in China Daily, the ship is equipped with modern detection and weapon systems, it will be capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and air-defence operations.
The under-construction ship is a version of the Chinese Navy’s most advanced guided missile frigate, it said.
The CSSC did not specify the ship’s type but said it is being constructed at its Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
The ship’s class is Type 054AP, which means it is based on the Type 054A of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the report quoted the Pakistani Navy as saying.
The Pakistani Navy previously said four such ships had been ordered, according to the report.
Once constructed, the warship “will be one of the largest and technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistani Navy and strengthen the country’s capability to respond to future challenges, maintain peace and stability and the balance of power in the Indian Ocean region,” the report said.
It will also support the Pakistani Navy’s initiative of securing sea lanes for international shipping by patrolling distant waters, the daily quoted the CSSC as saying.
Commenting on the ship’s construction, Cao Weidong, a senior researcher at the PLA’s Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said in the past, the Pakistani Navy would ask its Chinese contractors to use Western radars or weapons on ships constructed by the Chinese shipbuilders because it believed the Western naval technologies were better than Chinese ones.
“But it seems that all weapons and radars on the new ship will be Chinese products, which reflects our progress in the industry and the Pakistani Navy’s confidence in our technology and capability,” he said.
Cao said there are many nations selling frigates in the market, so Pakistan must have made thorough comparisons in terms of combat capability and costs.
“I believe the reason they chose our type is that ours is one of the few that can carry out all of the air-defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine tasks,” he said, expecting the service of the Chinese frigate to substantially boost Pakistan’s defence capability.