The Turkish defence contractor Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş. (STM) has been working to generate in-roads in the global naval market. While STM has the Middle East and South America in its sights, Pakistan is among STM’s success stories thanks to a sale of a 15,600-ton Navy Fleet Tanker in 2013 and a 2016 contract to upgrade the Pakistan Navy’s three DCNS Agosta 90B submarines.
Currently, STM is leading an effort to sell four MILGEM corvettes to the Pakistan Navy. At the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which occurred in Karachi in November, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) stated that it is offering to pilot a financing program to help back the potential purchase. STM stated that it hoped to ink the program in 2017.
Specific details of the Pakistan Navy corvette proposal are not yet known, but since its introduction, the originating MILGEM Ada corvette design has spurned several variants. Among them the I-Class frigate, a 3,000-ton design with 16 vertical launch system (VLS) cells. The first ship of the class, the Istanbul, entered production in January of this year. However, STM and its design partner Delta Marine are offering another MILGEM-based design, especially for the export market – the LF-2400 Light Frigate.
The LF-2400 is a mono-hull warship designed to undertake a wide range of roles including offshore patrol, anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-air warfare (AAW). Like the I-Class, the LF-2400’s hull is longer than the MILGEM Ada (108 m vs. 99.5 m), but the LF-2400’s displacement is only marginally heavier than that of the Ada (2,350 tons vs. 2,300 tons).
Considering how close the LF-2400 is to the Ada in terms of its specifications, especially displacement, the ‘frigate’ and ‘corvette’ terminology is irrelevant in this case. However, where the Ada was optimized for ASW (for the Turkish Navy), the LF-2400’s mission profile is broader.
The combined diesel and diesel (CODAD)-powered vessel can also serve as a command and control ship. With a ferry range of 5,000 nautical miles at 15 knots and endurance of 21 days, STM positions the LF-2400 as a complete solution for countries seeking to guard their sea-lines-of-communications (SLOC) and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) from conventional and asymmetrical threats. The LF-2400 has a landing and take-off deck for medium-weight utility and ASW helicopters.
Designed for export, STM has left the customer to decide upon the subsystem and weapons configuration of the LF-2400. The LF-2400 can be armed with a 76 mm forward main gun, a dual-quad anti-ship missile (AShM) launcher (i.e. eight missiles), two stabilized gun platforms, and two triple ASW torpedo launchers.
It is identical to the MILGEM Ada in most respects, but STM and Delta Marine made space rear of the exhaust-stack for 12 (or 16) VLS cells. These can be used to deploy surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and, potentially, surface-to-surface missiles. There is also a spot for the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) point-defence missile system (PDMS), which can provide close-proximity defence against incoming AShM.
Besides armaments, the LF-2400 can be configured in a standard form with a 3D phased-array radar (e.g. Thales Smart-S Mk2), hull-mounted sonar, command, control and communications system, electro-optical system, electronic support measures (ESM) system and countermeasures.
The LF-2400 mirrors the general specifications and capabilities of the DCNS Gowind 2500 corvette, which is a 2,600-ton design with a 76-mm main gun, two 20-mm cannons, dual-quad AShM launchers, two triple lightweight ASW torpedo launchers, and 16-cell VLS. Egypt bought its Gowind 2500s for €250 million per ship, which offer a general understanding of the LF-2400’s price.
Note: The LF-2400’s specifications can be found on Delta Marine’s design portfolio, which is available through the following URL.