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Turkey & Pakistan ink Agosta 90B submarine upgrade deal
June 23, 2017

Turkey & Pakistan ink Agosta 90B submarine upgrade deal

Turkey’s STM and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) have recently concluded a deal to upgrade the Pakistan Navy’s three Agosta 90B submarines. The upgrade will be carried out in Pakistan.

According to STM, France’s DCNS was the other competitor, but STM won on the basis of a “technically and commercially superior” offering, although it was DCNS that originally designed the submarine.

STM noted that the first upgraded submarine will be delivered in “45 months.” This is likely a typo for ‘4-5 months.’ The remaining two, which are currently listed as optional, will be delivered to Pakistan within a year of one another.

Comment and Analysis

News of this program was disclosed by the Turkish defence minister Fikri Isik at the beginning of June. In an earlier analysis on Quwa, it was believed that Turkey would equip the Agosta 90B with new electronics and sensor systems, such as Havelsan’s next generation submarine combat management system.

In fact, Pakistan’s Agosta 90Bs (and potentially even its forthcoming Chinese submarines) could benefit from a number of new subsystems – e.g. electronic support system, sonar, etc – being developed for the Turkish Navy’s next generation submarine platform, the Type 214TN. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility of Western European or even American vendors being contracted (by STM or Pakistan).

The recently signed contract was with STM, a shipbuilder that has experience implementing subsystem upgrades onto existing submarines. Pakistan will still need to secure the subsystems STM will implement, though it is also possible that STM will award those contracts (in the capacity of a program manager).

Currently, one submarine has been placed in the implementation pipeline, the remaining two are listed as “optional.” Although costs could be an issue, it is likely Pakistan’s primary concern is the fact that it would lose significant operational capacity if it pulls more than one of its five submarines from service.

Pakistan is also interested in acquiring four Ada-class corvettes, though it will need a $400 million loan from Turkey to help finance the acquisition. If brought to fruition, the Ada-class corvettes – and MILGEM platform generally – could form the nucleus of Pakistan’s future surface fleet.

  • Abdullah Aman

    Chinese sub-marines are also going to be build

  • Abdullah Aman

    Chinese sub-marines also going to be build

  • SP

    Better to concentrate the limited resources on new chinese submarines.

    • Salman Khan

      Yuan class is worse than Kilo class, hence they are no match for these to-be upgraded Agostas.

      • How did you come to that conclusion?

        • Salman Khan

          Well, you know, it’s the ambiguity that kills us. Chinese technology is so ambiguous, and to start comparing it with Western equipment is a fallacy and utter delusion. As a rule of thumb, copied things never have the ingenuity and the capability of progress like the original one’s. I’m sure that the current upgrade that was offered by both Turkey and DCNS, were aimed to lift our Agostas to a very modern, and highly advanced machine which match the current world naval requirements. Unless and until we get specific comparison of Chinese “top secret, project XYZ, factory 0.001th” to Western subs, we can’t really say a thing. But first and all, we know the bad acoustic signature of Chinese subs. Can you please tell me where I can really get a detailed technological comparison of the Yuan class with Western subs? I’m also here a sitting duck in a pond of confusion.

          • This is the issue. It’s difficult to conclude either way (good or bad) on Chinese submarines due to a lack of information. That said, we should remember that Chinese submarine development benefits from a hefty budget, massive domestic scale (i.e. PLAN), and urgency (i.e. U.S. containment in Pacific Asia). Those three aspects are the perfect ingredients for a good submarine platform. What the Chinese lack is experience and time, i.e. they do not have the decades of development and usage experience the U.S. and Europe benefit from (e.g. in propulsion).

            But in Pakistan’s case, we have even less information. Besides a random Facebook post by Sartaj Aziz, neither the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Defence Production, Navy, or China confirmed the type of submarines Pakistan would be getting, much less their specific configuration. Financial Times and Jane’s were able to get the price, which stood at a whopping $400-500m a unit, but there is no way on earth any currently available Chinese conventional submarine would cost that much.

      • Keyser
  • bill

    Chinese subs should be considered separately further we require as many submarines as we can afford to counter a powerful enemy like Indian navy. As Pn can’t compete on 1 to 1 basis similarly PN near future Surface assets look to be more vulnerable for not having any true Medium to Long range same. As currently PN only has perhaps two F21 old frigtaes with LY60 SAM having some medium term coverage against Jets meanwhile against CM it is in short range. Meanwhile F22P though are new but only have short range canisterised SAMS with limited capabilities.

  • bill

    We should at least strengthen our Air and sub surface assets in least possible time.

  • Wait, I though Pakistan was still interested in the Yuan class SSK from China?

    • It’s a separate program. This deal with Turkey is to upgrade 3 existing submarines in the Pakistan Navy, the Chinese submarines will be acquired in addition to this.

      • Are they getting the Yuan class SSK and when are they.

        • The only thing disclosed is that the submarines are powered by AIP. It is expected that a custom S20 (export version of the Yuan) will be acquired.

  • Syed

    The only sub I like is turkey with mayo lettuce and tamato on whole wheat bread and hold the onions🍟

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