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Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production confirms submarine contract
June 23, 2017
The Type-039/041 "Yuan" class conventional submarine, likely the basis for the export-centric S20. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production confirms submarine contract

The Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) confirmed in its 2014-2015 report that a contract to construct new generation submarines for the Pakistan Navy was signed in April 2015. While no specific timelines were given (in regards to production and delivery), the MoDP’s report is genuine confirmation that the long-awaited program is assuredly in the procurement pipeline.

Pakistan began negotiating with China for new submarines in 2011, when at the time it was reported that the Pakistan Navy was interested in six ships powered by air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. In April 2015, the Government of Pakistan formally approved the purchase of eight Chinese AIP submarines, and in July 2015 it was reported that the contract had been forwarded to Beijing, which would then greenlight Pakistan’s proposed financing arrangements.

In April 2016, the Pakistan Navy’s Commander of Logistics, Rear Admiral Syed Imdad Imam Jafri, praised Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) for winning a contract to produce four of the eight AIP submarines. In fact, Rear Admiral Jafri’s statements not only confirmed that the submarine deal was live, but that Pakistan was still committed to procuring AIP-equipped submarines. This is an important aspect, considering the tactical advantages borne by AIP systems, as discussed in an earlier Quwa article:

AIP technology allows SSKs to operate underwater without snorkeling for much longer periods of time, potentially as long as multiple weeks. In addition, AIP technology helps in keeping the submarine quiet, thus reducing its acoustic signature, a key advantage in subsurface combat where sound (i.e. acoustics) is the main method of detection and engagement. These advantages are more profound in the South Asian maritime theatre where there is close proximity between the two powers. For Pakistan, the amount of time a submarine can remain undetected will matter more than how far it can travel.

Beyond the fact that the submarine deal with China was signed and that KSEW will produce four of the eight ships, there are no official details, especially in regards to the submarine’s design, specifications, sensor suite, weapons inventory, or even the origin or design of its AIP system. It is believed that Pakistan’s submarines will be derived from the S20, the export variant of the Type 039A/Type 041. However, the details can only be left for speculation, at least at this stage. That said, it would be safe to assume that the Pakistan Navy will aim to position these submarines as strategic assets (via nuclear-tipped land attack cruise missiles), so as to complete Pakistan’s second-strike triad.

Overall, the Pakistan Navy’s submarine modernization roadmap is promising. With the Agosta 90Bs placed in the upgrade pipeline (with the Turkish shipbuilder STM’s support), the inclusion of these eight Chinese submarines will go a significant way in strengthening the Pakistan Navy’s anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. In fact, there are not many countries that would boast as many as 11 AIP-powered submarines.

  • bill

    Considering negative comments by some against Chinese subs without having detailed info, it is matter of joy that we are getting them as previously Chinese sub passed through Indian waters undetected and came to visit Pak which is proof of hi tech gadgetry used by Chinese. Considering IN future plans we should also acquire cheaper mini subs to supplement or future Sub fleet.

    Further if PN plans to acquire corvettes from Turkey materialize then both projects shall significantly boost Pak defenses in longer run, however in shorter run PN should try to increase FACS in numbers like Iran to counter current threats. Pak will have a challenge to replace it’s already obsolete Type-21 frigates, as clearly they may not be able to play any active role in near future and we have already faced bitter experience during 1971 war. It is worthwhile to note that only three Type-21s have LY-60 Medium level SAM, meanwhile our F22P frigate only have short range SAMS clearly insufficient to challenge any modern fighter jet.

    PN should try to at least get two Type-52 destroyers with HQ9 SAMS from China either by purchasing which seems to be almost impossible or by lease.

    At least we should arm our sole OHP with some sort of Medium or Long range SAM i.e any version of Aspide with modern AESA radar.

    • MT

      1. Indian navy did detect the chinese submarine.otherwise the news wouldnt have come out in open from India. Indian already have started placed new procurement bid for 4 more P8I

      P8i cant detect sunk vessels but can detect kilo class rip off from 100 KM away. Chinese latests submarine have similar acoustic signature as 80 era Kilo class Soviet submarines.So u need to research more on chinese technology

      2. Pakistan has to buy those mini frigates/corvettes from turkey which itself uses western systems while Indian build better technology frigates indigenously.Turks are decade away from making naval SAM & other AESA technology. India have clear edge over turkey in native R&D projects while turkish pvt sector are simply assembler of western products

      • Mubashir Jamel

        Turks make several systems like alTay Tank even 5Th G jeT Tfx is in development so ur assumptions r ignorance we have french Augusta subs being upgraded by Turks of modern NATo standards so ThaT know how will b used 2 update chinese subs

        • MT

          altay is total tech transfer of korean tank with german engine & other subsystem

          turkey tfx is merely in design phase & its their 1st attempt to develop a fighter aircraft

          don fool urself.. turks are merely Adding german submarine combat system to ur submarine which germany licensed to turks for submarine they are buying from german company

          Turks can’t make any submarine on their own. They can’t even make a steel alloy for submarine

          • bla bla

            Turkey ship yards and technology is far more better than India IAF and Indian navy has mostly soviet Union era military hardware and ships which are obsolete . Turkey has a defense budget of less than 20 billion but its military hardware is advance and more effective than India

          • MT

            turks doesn’t make submarine, nuclear submarine, aircraft carrier, destroyers while india makes them

            turkey military including air force is not at par with india.
            turks military bdget is 50% of indian size while their land mass is 4th time less
            look at global ranking of military

          • Confused Indian

            Pakistan is buying subs from China, not Turkey. China is far ahead of India in just about every field except call center scam where we have a clear lead.

          • Aga Majid

            Pls can you name the hashish you are smoking.Or, you’ve not woken up from a dream.Your DRDO has a history of failed projects,including the Teja,only 2 produced so far and sound similar to the numerous crashes of MIG-21(http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mig-27-jodhpur-crash-heres-a-list-of-previous-mig-aircraft-crashes-2850234/).India only buys from Russia,even US does not trust India with high technology.Read the book called “Soldout,”how Indian H-1Bworkers stole US technology from US companies. You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Read on about your brilliant defence achievements;I have worked in Mumbai & Chennai for a US company, and know your capabilities up-close. Dont even dream of messing with Pakistan, which is armed with mobile miniatured battlefield nukes. Read of your own brilliance from your own India Today, and weep!
            http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/drdo-failed-in-its-mission-due-to-delay-high-cost/1/184335.html

          • Abdul Rashid

            Hi Aga. Thanks for your input. Some interesting points there but please refrain from personal insults. Each post on this site is held in a queue and has to be individually read and assessed by the site moderators to ensure it meets Quwa guidelines (no personal insults, on topic, etc.).

          • HINDOL BANDYOPADHYAY

            If India has the capability with the help of USA , Russia , France , Israel, Japan , South Korea, Australia , Germany ,
            And decided Pakistan into two pieces, into like Bangladesh , then what is the problem .
            Result will matter .
            After 70 years , in vain attempts , Pakistan till not devided India , after many wars .

          • Mihir Thakkar

            in your dreams then why did turks cancel the defence contract with china for supply of nuclear weapons also turkey’s economy is 896 nillion dollars in comapriosn to India which is near 2.5 trillion dollars and is growing at 7.7 percent per annum . Turkey does not have any tourth gen aircraft or even an single aircraft carrier nor does it have any nuclear weapons of its own

      • bla bla

        India has already cancelled the deal of air refuelers .Instead of doing propaganda first procure Rafales than think about Submarines look at China they already have J20s coming up along with SU 35 and IAF squadorns are getting lesser every day 😀

        • MT

          india placed orders for 4 Americans anti submarine P8 posedoin aircraft at cost of 1bill $

          rafale deal is almost concluded & u ll see it signed with in 45 days.

          • Confused Indian

            Rafale deal is classic India. So much hoo-haa only to order 36 jets.

      • Anon

        One of these subs showed up a mile behind the American aircraft carrier without being detected , so good luck finding these with the equipment that Americans will gladly sell ya….kabb samjhogey

        • Omar

          lol

        • Mihir Thakkar

          India has akula class submarines and taking 2 on lease from russia the ones that you are saying showed up a mile in Guam

  • HINDOL BANDYOPADHYAY

    India should employ 50 to 100 nuclear capable submarines in the costal area to offensive position against Pakistan & China submarines .

    • Mubashir Jamel

      haha even usa doesn’t have that many

      • HINDOL BANDYOPADHYAY

        India can do it within 10 years .
        Now , India will have 20 submarines within 2 years ,
        That is enough to counter Pakistan & China’s submarines .
        If war is started , then India can get 10 nuclear submarines from Russia & America in immediate basis .

        • Shershahsuri

          what about more than hundred of china? try to level that score first then turn to Pak.

          • HINDOL BANDYOPADHYAY

            Sabhi , Shershahsuri , naam leh liah , to Shershah Suri , nahi bann jatey .
            We have no need , the score the level , it is not a football match .
            If China , wants something doing wrong , with the pact of Pakistan ,
            Then their is more option , rather than no. of submarines , to India ,
            which are sufficient to damage deeply the both countries .
            If you have no idea , then please , try it once .
            After that , you can’t blame , that India did wrong .

        • Sami Shahid

          This is your own wish to fight with two countries at the same time but its not a wish of your government nor your military.

        • Asad

          Well you can compete with pakistan militarily but not china. China has way more advanced technology and weapons than india. I mean just look at how much china has progressed over the last few decades. Personally, i am not in favor of spending money on arms and ammunition. War doesn’t do any good to anyone. I would like both pak and india to invest in human capital. The defence budget should be kept minimal.

  • Mazhar

    Great news, now all those who were spreading false news about cancellation of these subs, now will keep their mouths shut. As expected, an Indian is already here to comment. Soon another Indian will show up with an old rhetoric of “ECONOMY ISSUES” of Pak.

    • MT

      Indian commentator is probably an ignorant but no indian ever commented about pakistan cancellation of the Chinese submarine.

      Arms race by Pakistan helps Indian strategic objective if The western aid to pakistan gets truncated & Pak have to pay its money to achieve parity!

      India wont bother to discuss pakistan if pak agrees to status quo on border and kashmir issues & learn to live like a normal neighbor!
      I know its tough ask for Pakistan to stop being expansionist despite being weaker military, economy and capabilites. Most experts treat Pak as a security state which doesnt use rationality,realism to drive its national policy.

      • Mazhar

        Here comes the one, as I predicted. Dude why don’t you just mind your own stuff and stop poking your noses at Pak places. You will never learn, no one in the world can make you understand that why you keep Pakistan the center of your thoughts which give you nightmares while you asleep. Have you been to Chinese website alike?

      • bla bla

        India has a defense budget of above 60 billion dollars and Pakistan is 10 billion Arms race by Pakistan is hilarious ^^

        • MT

          u forgot to add 2-3bill free weapons which usa gifted pak including the aid from west which provides some buffer to pak military

          • bla bla

            The logistics support USA got in the wake of war in terror 2 to 3 billion dollar is nothing Pak already had a loss of more than 100 billion dollars and thousands of people lost there lives America with the greatest military machine has yet again failed in Afghanistan its a shame

          • MT

            Pak was almost economically bankrupt before 9/11.
            2001 attack helped Pak economically. IF there were no chinese investment via CPEC, Pak would be hand to mouth.So stop fudging those 100 bill$ fake nos as losses.

            Pak doesnt have enough industries,skilled man power in services to generate that much money over next decade

  • Steve

    Just look at your post; “America and Russia will help us”, hahaha some “superpower”

  • Sami Shahid

    Sub-Marines are very important for Pakistan against Giant Indian Navy and for the security of Gwadar.

  • Mihir Thakkar

    India will have 412 submarines by 2023 pakistan will have 13 only and china has 52. India maybe need another 9 I guess and Approximately another 8 submarine hunters P8i apart from current 8 and 4 more ordered.

  • HINDOL BANDYOPADHYAY

    I have the sense. Do you know , what will be the defence budget of India for next 5 years .
    If you don’t know , then don’t argue non sense reply .
    India can now reach Moon , Mars .
    How , you underestimate India , then India will grow more .
    Your hate is India’s strength.
    Carry on , your hate feelings .

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