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Turkey & Pakistan ink Agosta 90B submarine upgrade deal
September 21, 2019

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.