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IDEF 2017: Pakistan moves closer to finalizing MILGEM corvette purchase
August 16, 2017
Photo credit: Turkish Ministry of Defence

IDEF 2017: Pakistan moves closer to finalizing MILGEM corvette purchase

Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain, Turkey’s Minister of Defence Fikri Işık and Turkish defence contractor Savunma Teknolojileri Muhendislik Ve Ticaret A.S (STM) have signed a letter-of-intent for the sale of four MILGEM Ada corvettes to the Pakistan Navy.

As per Defence Turkey, the contract will be finalized on June 30, 2017.

The Deniz Haber reported that the MoDP visited Tuzla Shipyard in Istanbul and received a presentation on the MILGEM Ada corvette platform. In an interview with Turkish state-owned news agency Anadolu Agency that same day, Mr. Hussain said that current plans project that some of the corvettes will be built in Turkey, with the remainder in Pakistan.

This is also STM’s third major naval contract to Pakistan, following the Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker (PNFT) and Agosta 90B submarine upgrade program. Depending on the configuration of the Pakistan Navy’s new corvettes, the cumulative value of these programs could potentially exceed U.S. 1 billion.

Notes & Comments:

Turkey announced Pakistan’s interest in procuring MILGEM corvettes in June 2016.

During Pakistan’s biennial defence exhibition, IDEAS, which took place in Karachi in November 2016, the Deputy Undersecretary for Turkish Defence Industries (SSM) Mustafa Şeker confirmed that Turkey will extend a loan, reported to have been U.S. $400 million, to Pakistan. STM added that it was waiting for July, i.e. the start of Pakistan’s new fiscal year, for Islamabad to finalize the contract.

Specifics surrounding Pakistan’s desired configuration or design have not yet been disclosed. Currently, it appears that the model is directly derived from the MILGEM Ada corvette, but with specific modifications in mind for the Pakistan Navy’s requirements. Specifics regarding these modifications are have not been disclosed, though it will likely involve replacing U.S.-origin subsystems and weapons with alternative ones – these could potentially come from Turkey, Europe or China. Speaking to the Turkish state-owned news agency Anadolu Agency, STM CEO Davut Yilmaz said that the Pakistan MILGEM deal is worth $1 billion. As per Yilmaz, the standard configuration of the MILGEM Ada would have cost $300 million per ship, but since Pakistan is sourcing some equipment and work from its own industry, it will pay $250 million per ship.

The MILGEM Ada corvette design of the Turkish Navy is optimized for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, though it is also armed with two quad anti-ship missile (AShM) launchers, a point-defence missile system (PDMS) in the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and a 76mm main gun. It can also house a medium-weight utility and ASW-capable helicopter. Variants of the MILGEM platform, such as the LF-2400 light frigate and I-Class frigate, are equipped vertical-launch systems for anti-air warfare missiles.

The Pakistan Navy made supplanting its obsolete Type 21 frigates a priority, and the MILGEM platform – at its bare minimum – provides a functional patrol solution for Pakistan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In wartime, the MILGEM’s ASW and anti-ship warfare capabilities will boost Pakistan’s littoral anti-access and area-denial threshold. STM has also offered its FAC-55 fast-attack missile craft system to the Pakistan Navy, specifically in response to the latter’s requirement for four to six new FACs for protecting its ports.

Statements by Turkish and Pakistani officials indicate that Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) will be involved in the MILGEM corvette program. It is not known how this will be done (besides sharing the output), but if the PNFT provides an indication, KSEW will assemble the ships (using manufactured kits from Turkey) and integrate its subsystems and weapons.

  • John Rue

    Considering India has deep strike capabilities and super sonic missiles like Brahmos probably its bad idea to buy any surface ships. PN should stay focused on sub marines that are hard to detect and target. Should look into buy more surveillance planes. Some upgraded AESA AWACS plane from reliable source. Does Turkey make one?

    • bla bla

      Pakistan can get CX-1 missile its even better than Brahmos or build a ballistic missile shield to take Indian missile down. First step is get the surface ships than to equipped them with the best weapon system .

      • John Rue

        280 KM range. Is that good enough? Would Indian Navy allow a ship to come that close to fire one?

        • ECHELON FOUR

          Range extended on existing missiles to 450km and validation trials done after signing MTCR. That was a self imposed limitation—-only a few software changes were required.

        • Red Phoenix

          You are overrating Indian made missiles. Brahmos, CX-1, Yakhont are all relying on speed for a reason. Recall that US has always had the highest technology on any kind of jet engine, be it turbofan, turbojet or ramjet, but it has never attached importance on speed. As the missiles get faster 1. they have to fly HIGHER (what’s the point of cruise missile???) 2. As they fly high they can’t use advantage of terrain/sea skimming. 3. Those missiles have round shape, have no stealth capability. 4. those missiles can’t benefit from stealth coating either because speed higher than mach 2 damages stealth coating. What US develops instead of fast missiles? Answer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sNhw-aORdQ

          • Headstrong

            But these super sonic missiles do not need stealth. The very fact that they are so fast helps it defeat contemporary anti-missile defences. In fact, having explosive warhead is overkill. It can kill with its sheer kinetic energy

          • ahmria

            a lot of the new contemporary missile defences especially on ships like the Type 45 destroyers the UK have made are more than capable and are designed to deal with supersonic anti ship missiles and saturation attacks so while Pakistan would struggle to protect its surface fleet from an attack like that most of the top navies have adapted hence why the Russians, Chinese and Indians are now trying to develop hypersonic missile tech.

          • Steve

            It should read “Pakistan would CURRENTLY struggle”. A lot of stuff is planned 😉

          • Steve

            I would amend that to Russia and China. India just hangs on the coattails of Russia or America as the case may be.

    • Aawish

      Pakistan is already going to buy 8 aip subs from China. Pakistan should buy as many as possible facs like Finnish hamina class facs and some multi purpose frigates like FREMM class frigates.

    • Syed Bushra

      Considering Pakistan is a nuclear armed state, it is unwise for India to even think of attacking any Pakistani assets unless Indian government want to fight its next war with sticks and stones in nuclear winter.

      • Headstrong

        Nobody really buys this nuclear blackmail stuff anymore.

        • Syed Bushra

          No one cares about you or your opinion. Bottom line: Pakistan will use its nuclear arsenal to defend itself against any Indian aggression. Sleep easy now.

          • Steve

            Of course the unmentionables next door will advocate their strengths which is huge numbers of mediocre assets and downplay their weaknesses which is inferiority or at best parity in nuclear deterrence. What else do we expect? We have been attacking them subconventionally for 25 years. Where is the war they threaten and why has it not happened despite BJP being in power before? They keep lying that nuclear weapons have nothing to do with it and they don’t buy ‘blackmail’. To me and most of the world it appears that blackmail is working perfectly. Lol

          • Syed Bushra

            To be fair, Pakistan’s doctrine of Full Spectrum Deterrence (FSD) is a result of India’s aggressive war doctrine, Cold Start which seeks to wage war. Pakistan has no such military doctrine. Also, India crossed the international border first in every Indo-Pak war essentially starting the war. However, this time around Pakistan will respond to any Indian adventurism with tactical nuclear weapons. If anything, Nasr (Hatf-9) missile is solely responsible for peace in South Asia.

          • Headstrong

            Kargil.

  • Aaif khan

    It would be better to buy something that can house anti aircaft missiles in sufficient numbers. And to continue Procure fast attack craft in good numbers that can carry six antiship missile. Along with it advance surveillance drones and early warning system that can feed the target to FACS.

  • Steve

    I hope we get an adequate VLS system with this. Bigger version of frigate would obviously be preferable. I disagree that we should not build a surface fleet at all because of Oniks that the bloody Russian helpfully transferred to the neighbourhood and these guys renamed and tweaked. It is not a wonder-weapon like they would have us believe and of course there are counters. It would be the same as saying we should not induct JF-17 because of the ‘mighty all powerful’ Sukhoi. We cannot concede the whole of the Arabian sea/IOR to our enemies, particularly since the Americans gave them P8I too and subs though good are not a panacea. We should take our time and induct quality ships over the next 20 years to get deterrence and facilite trade and development especially via CPEC.

    • Aaif khan

      20yrs? I predict the war within 12years. and yogi aditynatah will be the PM.

      • ECHELON FOUR

        12 yrs is too long….by 2023…..one common feature of all defence deals big or small signed by BJP govt is that they all are materialising by 2022-23. Strange fact.

        • Aaif khan

          Yes you are probably right. But they will have to avert their plan due to China. rememner that Rockefeller foundation has predicted a Indo-pak war in the end of 2027. And you know who are they? Anyway, 2023 or 27, War is a reality. Specially when India is now ruled by war Mongers.

      • Steve

        If you all think logically and not with patriotic dramatisation an all out war in the subcontinent is not really possible. BJP though appearing rabid and jingoistic are not totally mad. Their anti Muslim and anti Pakistan agenda is more to look for long term electoral gain and votes by radicalising the masses and advocating religion based issues like cows etc. What we should be geared for is a sharp short war in the air land and sea before logic dictates that further escalation will be curtailed. The Indians will be looking for a ‘win’ by causing more damage to us than them, to please the masses for 20 years and stay in power. It’s good for us in a way as the superior numbers of Indians count for less in this scenario and we can even build local numerical superiority on different fronts. A lot of our procurement, strategy, and doctorines should be to refine and fine tune this concept. I just hope there is civilian military coordination and the international political, economic, and diplomatic front is not forgotten or managed incompetently. A single minded approach by the entire establishment is needed. Long term we need a settlement on Kashmir and other things but our job now is to prevent conventional retaliation to our using subconventional, political and diplomatic leverage to bring about the above.

    • Headstrong

      Too bad, Steve. No counter as yet. Meanwhile, both range and speed are being stepped up.

      • Steve

        It is disingenuous to suggest a Russian missile is a wonder-weapon with no counters. A lot of new inducted air defence missiles from different sources claim to be able to counter a supersonic incoming target.

        • Headstrong

          ‘Claim’ being the operative word

          • Steve

            Only time will tell how well your wonder weapon works against modern air defence missiles. You may be in for a surprise

          • Headstrong

            No modern air Defence can defend against Brahmos, much less the primitive stuff you people have. And we’re not even talking about Brahmos NG.

  • Steve

    Need 2 naval squadrons of Su-35 from Russia like yesterday to provide long range air cover to these. NS needs to visit Putin. If they try to buy any frigate without adequate VLS we should demonstrate with placards and hunger strikes in front of naval headquarters lol

    • bill

      Sir I am afraid that Su35 is a dead deal, meanwhile it shall be a crime to get future frigates or corvettes without any capable Medium range SAM.

  • I’ll be optimistic and say, “no” – it doesn’t preclude the possibility of buying Type 054As, improved F-22Ps, or any other frigate. However, I look at it as an issue of buying more surface warships. Finances are tight, so it might not be on the horizon in the near-term, but it could happen much further down the line.

    • Steve

      Unfortunately finances have always been tight. Waiting for the day we can buy or build quality stuff without asking for discounts or buying second hand or miniature ships.

  • ECHELON FOUR

    Any Indian should be elated IF the Milgem corvette between Pakistan & Turkey goes through. Don’t you know that all the composites-built sub-structures on that corvette will be supplied by the Germany-based subsidiary of MKU Ltd (Indian company based in kanpur, UP)? That’s money flowing into India, man! If the deal is signed, then you should buy MKU’s shares from the stock market. I would, for sure.

    • Shakeel

      Based on Indian criteria it must be supa dupa then. If it can’t fly, it will fly bcz it’s made in India.

      • Headstrong

        LTJG Kaffee: Colonel Jessep! Did you order the “code red?!!”

        Judge Randolph: You don’t have to answer that question!

        Col Jessep: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?

        LTJG Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to them.

        Col Jessep: You want answers?!

        LTJG Kaffee: I want the truth!

        Col Jessep: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!**

        ** Colonel Nathan R. Jessep addresses the court in ‘A Few Good Men’

        • Shakeel

          Headstrong trying to salvage some Indian pride. He forgot to mention some quotes from the Guru publications, and he has resorted to Col Jessep who is the distant cousin of Headstrong under British colonialism.

          The truth is keep your over-inflated thoughts about the Milgem to yourself, because the truth does HURTH when it is based on BOGUS SHAM.

          • Steve

            As usual a thread about Pakistan’s choices gets sidetracked by Indian posters singing praises of India. It get s a bit boring after a while as they don’t focus on the subject at hand and let their patriotism get the better of them.

          • Headstrong

            Why, just a month or so ago, Steve, you were questioning the very existence of Brahmos! At least now we’ve progressed to ‘Oniks that the bloody Russians helpfully transferred to the neighbourhood’
            We’ll get to it eventually, Steve!

        • Steve

          Light hearted so hope the moderator does not wield the axe too enthusiastically to protect the feelings of our cross border adversaries.
          1. You are betraying your age as that film is ancient.
          2. You’re exposing the fact that Indians see too much into filmy (to use an Indian term) logic and filmy philosophy. It’s a byproduct of watching too much Bollywood. Lol

          • Headstrong

            Light hearted too ?
            Logic not your strong suit, is it? The point is the message regardless of my age or the vintage of the movie. And Bollywood is a good medium to you people as you are so obsessed by it, even as you want to trash it. One look at your media will confirm what I’m saying

          • Steve

            I can categorically say I have never watched that mish mash of singing dancing and fist fights. It’s unwatchable except maybe by Indians. It only makes money because there are so many of you and there is so little real entertainment. Of course we know that only Indians are logical as they have a monopoly on it, especially when they think about Russian missiles like Oniks hahaha. Apologies to Bilal as his nice website is being ruined by Indian fanboys being illogical by claiming there is no counter to a 30 year old Russian missile. Western navies must be quaking in their boots!

          • Headstrong

            Ah – something in common! I hate most Bollywood stuff too. But it’s not just the two of us, is it? Most of our respective countrymen do not agree with us – and most are hooked to Bollywood. You may not agree – but one look at your own media will tell you otherwise. I’ve met many of your countrymen (and women) actually salivating for Bollywood gossip when I tell them I’m from Mumbai.
            And no need to apologise to Bilal – I’m sure he’s grinding his teeth putting up with you lot 🙂
            Let me know when you find that counter….

  • T-123456

    Most of you overthink to much.
    This is just a first step to a future modern Pakistani Navy,4 ADA class then some Istanbul class or comparable Chinese systems and later some TF-2000 ”frigates”(or Chinese).
    With the future FACs and 8 Chinese subs you will have a modern Navy.
    Face it,your Navy sucks and needs to be updated,this is just the beginning.
    Dont worry about funds,CPEC will provide in the future.
    Forget about the Su-35(wont happen),focus on the JF-17(block 3/4) or go for some J/FC-31 as a stopgap until the TFX is ready.

  • Steve

    All sorts of convoluted logic comes out of the woodwork by Indians trying to reassure themselves that areas in which they are weak don’t really count. That’s gives an insight into the fear in their minds. SPD already has established, well thought out doctrines and red lines that though not advertised are pretty much known. Our job is to keep India at bay and force a Kashmir settlement under those red lines and with enough conventional deterrence, which we are well on the way to implementing.

  • Syed Bushra

    Nuclear weapons are a “use it or lose it” proposition. Rationality dictates that one them use as oppose to losing them. This is Game Theory 101. This is not a people-specific concept applicable to Pakistanis or Indians only, nor are we immune from it.

    • Headstrong

      An even more rational way of looking at it is ‘Don’t use it – don’t get exterminated in return’.
      Anyway, I’m not even getting to the ‘use’ stage. My simple theory is that a situation will never be reached (to a rational mind at least, which I believe your Generals ‘generally’ are) where nukes have to be used. Therefore, it is my firm belief that this ‘full spectrum deterrence’ theory is bunkum. If, for example, there were to be a hot pursuit situation, or a big terror attack situation which India believes emanated from pakistani soil, and India feels obliged to retaliate – it could do so in 2 ways
      1. The much maligned CSD.
      2. The even more maligned surgical strikes.
      Assuming that either gets off the ground successfully, the damage inflicted would not be a degree which would cross the (admittedly, perceived) Pakistani red lines. If, again hypothetically, Indian armour were to make a foray into Pakistani territory, say 60 km, I do not believe this would lead to a Nasr scenario.
      This is what I called the nuclear blackmail, and why I say India should call the nuclear bluff if called for.

  • Headstrong

    You’re right – Brahmos does use a combination of speed and the S-manoeuvre to thwart AMD. And it’s a fact that PRESENTLY, there’s no counter. That will of course not be forever as the US is tweaking SM-6 to defeat Brahmos.
    Hence the effort to develop Brahmos NG (slightly faster, much smaller so as to make detection even more difficult) and Brahmos 2 (speed Mach 7).
    Furthermore, Ramjet works only at supersonic speeds. No matter what altitude the Brahmos is at, it will be flying at a minimum Mach 2-2.5 . This is how the missile and engine is designed. All ramjet powered missiles have very high speeds even at low altitudes. Heat will be a factor. But Brahmos will hardly spend 30-40 seconds at low altitude during its terminal stage. Its heat shield can withstand that temperature for a minute. That’s one of the reasons the missile is so bulky.
    Seriously, do you believe anybody would develop a missile which is supersonic otherwise, but subsonic when most required?
    As far as video of terminal stage is considered, you may want to see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNG86VSld3s

  • Headstrong

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. The Pakistani Generals are far more rational than given credit for…

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