China has completed the delivery of four warships to the Pakistan Navy as part of an agreement signed in 2018.
The delivery, which took place last week, signifies deepening military cooperation between Beijing and its Asian ally
Two Type 054A frigates were featured in a commissioning ceremony at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, with Pakistan Navy chief Amjad Khan Niazi in attendance.
Named the PNS Tippu Sultan and the PNS Shahjahan, the two warships will be used to safeguard the seas linking west China and Islamabad.
They will also ensure the seaward defense and protection of Pakistan’s vital sea lines of communication, according to the Pakistani naval chief.
The first two frigates under the contract were inducted into the Pakistan Navy in 2021 and 2023. They are named the PNS Tughril and the PNS Taimur.
Commissioning Ceremony of #PakNavy's two newly built Type 054 A/P Frigates, PNS TIPPU SULTAN & PNS SHAHJAHAN was held at Shanghai, China. CNS Adm Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi was the Chief Guest.1/2 pic.twitter.com/FaLseAwcNf
— DGPR (Navy) (@dgprPaknavy) May 10, 2023
Type 054A Frigate
The Type 054A/P is a multi-role frigate that serves as the backbone of the Chinese Navy fleet of surface combatants.
With a length of 134 meters (439 feet), the warship can accommodate up to 165 sailors.
It is also fitted with state-of-the-art sensors and weapons, which include CM-302 surface-to-surface missiles and LY-80 surface-to-air missiles.
An Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare suite and Combat Management System enable the ships to operate under multi-threat scenarios.
Unlike the Chinese variant that features a Type 382 radar, the frigates delivered to Pakistan are fitted with an SR2410C radar.
Deepening Military Ties
Pakistan’s increasing procurement of military weapons and equipment from China is seen as strong evidence of their deepening economic and military ties.
In March last year, Beijing delivered the first batch of six J-10 fighter jets to Islamabad to bolster its air defense capabilities.
Eight Hangor-class submarines that Pakistan ordered from the Asian military superpower are also expected to be handed over by 2028.
“The prospects for cooperation between the two sides, in my opinion, are getting stronger and stronger,” military analyst Song Zhongping told Reuters. “Maintaining the peace and stability of South Asia fits with both countries’ actual interests.”