In June 2017, the Pakistan Navy (PN) and the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) signed a deal with Damen Shipyards for a “multipurpose offshore patrol vessel” (OPV).
The contract was for two OPVs, one of which was to be built in Pakistan. However, the deal was revised at some point to have both ships built at Damen Shipyards’ facilities in Galati, Romania.
In addition, since the launch of the first ship in May 2019, the PN began referring to the OPVs as corvettes.
Neither the PN, MoDP or Damen Shipyards disclosed the price of the OPVs, but the MoDP stated that the ships will be equipped for a range of roles, including:
“…anti-surface [operations], anti-air operations, maritime security operations, day [and] night helicopter operations, combat search and rescue (CSAR), and surveillance and intelligence gathering operations.”
In other words, the PN intended to operate the OPVs as multi-purpose surface combatants.
As of September 2019, Damen Shipyards launched both ships for sea trials, with the first in May 2019 and the second in September 2019. It is not known if the PN will procure additional corvettes from the Dutch shipbuilder, or from others (such as Swiftships, which is based in Louisiana).
Design & Specifications
When the MoDP and Damen Shipyards first announced the deal in 2017, they said that these ships would be OPVs with a length of 90 m, displacement of 1,900 tons, and maximum speed of 22 knots.
However, since their launch, the PN stated that the ships were in fact corvettes with a markedly heavier displacement of 2,300-tons. Moreover, the PN’s ‘corvette’ does not appear to be a direct variation of the Damen OPV-line or the Sigma corvette and frigate series.
Rather, it appears that the PN’s corvette draws from both the OPV and Sigma lines. It is possible that the PN’s corvette is closer to the OPV line, at least in terms of hull and superstructure construction.
While the PN did change the scope of the program, it is unlikely that it would have deviated too far from what it and Damen had originally agreed to under the OPV contract in 2017.
One possibility could be that the PN’s corvettes are based on the Damen OPV 2400, which (like the 1,900 OPV) has a length of 90 m and a maximum speed 23 knots. The OPV 2400 supports a crew of 60.
According to Damen Shipyards, the OPV 2400 can support up to two additional “mission modules,” which can include anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures (MCM), logistics, and others.
Damen’s OPVs were designed as lower cost ships compared to the Sigma. For example, Malaysia’s OPV 1800s came with a unit price of $55.7 million, which is lower than the average cost of multirole corvettes, such as the MILGEM or Gowind, which are priced at around $250-300 million per ship.
Granted, the cost of electronics, sensors, and weapons on multirole corvettes constitute a large portion – if not the majority – of the cost, controlling the baseline cost will generally result in a lower overall price…
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