Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pakistani F-22P Frigate arrives in Karachi





Pakistan is likely to sign a multi-million-dollar deal with Germany and other countries, most probably the US, for the acquisition of at least four submarines and the same number of multipurpose ships by the end of 2010, as the first F-22P Frigate of Pakistan Navy (PN) "PNS Zulfiquar" arrived at Karachi Harbour here Saturday, from China under the management of transfer of technology.

According to sources, PN was negotiating with Germany the acquisition of three to four Type 214 submarines, besides searching the international markets in US, UK or any other country for some multi-purpose ships, frigates or destroyers, by the end of next year to upgrade its defence fleet.

"Negotiations are on with Germany, while a deal for some multipurpose ships is also expected by the end of next year with the US, UK or any other country which comes up with an attractive offer," they added.

Moreover, a spokesman of PN told Business Recorder that China had transferred the manufacturing technology of F-22P Frigate to its all-weather friend, Pakistan, as the vessel, "PNS Zulfiquar ", arrived in Pakistan amid an ongoing naval exercise in the Arabian Sea.

"The Frigate came from China under the management of transfer of technology," said Commodore Salman Ali while talking to Business Recorder. He said with a "keel laying" or "steel cutting" ceremony for building the Sword Class "4th F-22P Frigate" at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) in March 2009, Pakistan had started using the Chinese technology.

According to sources, 4th F-22P Frigate being constructed by KSEW would have 2,920 tonnes displacement, 123.2 meter length overall, 13.8 meter breadth, 3.76 meter draft, 29 and 16 knots respective maximum and cruising speed, 4,000 nautical miles range, Z-9EC type helicopters and a capacity to accommodate at least 204 personnel.

They said the "war time" role of the frigate would include long range surface to surface strikes, an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stand off capability, air defence and interdiction of hostile targets. During the peacetime the vessel would guard the country's exclusive economic zone, combat the power projects in the area of interest, contribute to international security through UN peacekeeping operations and take part in search and rescue and flag showing/maritime diplomacy, they said.

According to sources F-22P Frigate would be equipped with a main 76mm gun, C-802 SSM, FM-90 SAM, TCU 42A type Torpedo Tubes, Close-in-Weapon System (CIWS), depth charges, sensors, like surface, air and navigational radars and trackers, RDC-32 type rockets and electronic support and counter measures (ESM/ECM) systems.

According to Commodore Salman the frigate under construction at KSEW and which would be ready by 2013 was "identical" to that of the PNS Zulfiquar and two others being built at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai in terms of technological and defence features.

Meanwhile, an ISPR (Navy) statement said the F-22P Frigate was welcomed by the PN surface and aviation units busy in war-games in the Arabian Sea. PNS Zulfiquar, the first of the series of four ships being constructed in collaboration with China, also participated in its very first naval exercise which was witnessed by Commander Pakistan Fleet, Rear Admiral Asif Sandila, it added.

The second and the third ship are also nearing completion and expected to be handed over to Pakistan in the first and third quarter of 2010. F-22P frigate, a Sword Class Ship equipped with long range surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, has a displacement of 3,000 tonnes and carries Anti Submarine Z-9EC helicopters. The first batch of two helicopters has already arrived in Pakistan. Formal induction ceremony of the ship in PN Fleet would be held in the third week of this month, the statement said.

Business Recorder

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