Islamabad: China has launched the “most advanced” warship for Pakistan Navy that will boost the country’s capability to respond to future challenges. The launch ceremony for the first of four Type-054 class frigate, attended by top officials, was held at the Chinese state-owned Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard Shanghai on Sunday.
The state of the art frigates are equipped with modern surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons and sensors, the Pakistan Navy statement said. The Type-054 class frigates will be “one of the technologically-advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy Fleet,” it said. “These ships will significantly contribute in maintaining peace and security in our area of responsibility”.
The launching event was hailed as a milestone in the construction of the advanced frigate for Pakistan Navy. Commodore Azfar Humayun (Chief Naval Overseer, China) and Li Hongtao, Chairman of China Shipbuilding Trading Corporation (CSTC) attended the ceremony. Pakistani officials described the event as “new chapter in Pakistan-China defense relationship” and thanked the dedication of Chinese team despite the pandemic limitations.
Double the combat power
The military vessels will “double the combat power” of Pakistan Navy fleet, experts claim. “Once constructed, the warship will strengthen Pakistan’s capability to respond to future challenges, maintain peace and stability and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region” according to an earlier statement. Pakistan Navy is expected to induct all four warships by 2021.
Multi-role missile frigate
The Type 054A is a version of the Chinese Navy’s most advanced guided missile frigate. It is equipped with advanced radars and missile and has a displacement of about 4,000 metric tons. It serves as the mainstay frigate of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), which operates 30 such vessels.
Pakistan-China defense ties
In January this year, Pakistan and China conducted a major joint naval drill “Sea Guardians 2020” in the Arabian Sea to deepen security cooperation.
The two allies have steadily increased military and defence cooperation, including the joint production of JF-17 multirole combat aircraft, besides accelerating economic cooperation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).