On December 05, Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) conducted the launch ceremony of a 600-ton Hingol-class Maritime Patrol Vessel (MPV) for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).
According to KSEW, the MPV “is being built with technical collaboration of China Shipbuilding & Trading Co. (CSTC).” The MPV is built with a steel hull and aluminum super structure. It has a length of 68.5 m, a breadth of 8.7 m and top speed of 27 knots. Construction began in May 2016.
As part of an order of two 1,500-ton and four 600-ton MPVs, the ships will be deployed for undertaking “maritime security [and] search and rescue mission in [Pakistan’s] … exclusive economic zone.” KSEW was tasked with manufacturing one of each MPV.
The first ships of the type, PMSS Hingol (1070) and PMSS Basol (1071), were commissioned into the PMSA in December 2016. The PMSA deployed the MPVs to support the Gwadar deep-sea port, the centerpiece of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.
Notes & Comments:
It appears that the Hingol-class MPV was acquired in lieu of the GRC43M cutter, which Pakistan requested from the U.S. in 2014 under a proposed $350 million purchase for eight ships. The GRC43M has a length of 43 m and displacement of 237.5 tons. This deal did not come to fruition.
In January, KSEW also laid the keel for one of the two 1,500-ton MPVs. In June, photos had emerged of the first of these ships at Huangpu Shipyard in China. With a length of 95 m, the 1,500-ton MPV possesses an aft flight deck suitable for light-to-medium utility helicopters. The 1,500-ton MPV may serve as a task-force command ships of sorts for the Hingol-class MPV and other smaller vessels.
In the Pakistan Navy’s capability set, the PMSA’s MPVs provide baseline maritime policing and security. In scenarios with escalated seaborne threats, such as piracy necessitating VBSS (i.e. visit, board, search and seizure) or asymmetrical security threats at deep-sea, the Navy is procuring 1,500 to 2,000-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) and corvettes from Damen Shipyards and Swiftships, respectively. Further, the Navy is poised to procure new-built frigates, corvettes and submarines for conventional operations.
The Hangor (II) air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine program is envisaged to restore and expand the Navy’s submarine fleet with eight new ships. However, besides being AIP-equipped, neither the Navy or the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) provided specific details into the model or design. CSIC recently revealed three new single-hull designs, joining its Type 039-based double-hull S20 and S26. However, KSEW will manufacture and deliver four of the Hangor (II)-class submarines by 2028.