On 01 November 2019, the Government of Pakistan announced on social media that China Shipbuilding Trading Co. Ltd. (CSTC) conducted the steel cutting ceremony of two Type 054A/P multi-mission frigates for the Pakistan Navy (PN) at its Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard facility.
Pakistan ordered four Type 054A/P frigates in 2017 and 2018 in two batches. The China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) cut the steel of the first two ships in 2018.
The PN is slated to receive all four Type 054A/P frigates by 2021.
In terms of specifications, the Type 054A has a full load displacement of 4,000 tons and total length of 134.1 m. With a cruising speed of 15 knots, the Type 054A offers a range of 8,000 nm.
The Type 054A’s main armaments comprise of a 76 mm main gun, two quad-cell anti-ship missile (AShM) launchers, two triple-cell anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedoes, and a 32-cell vertical launch system (VLS) armed with HQ-16 medium-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM).
Photo Source: Radio Pakistan
Based on the official impressions of the ships, it appears that Pakistan’s ships will differ in respects to their counterparts in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
For example, the PN’s ships may use the SRC2410C phased array radar instead of the Type 382 3D air search radar. In addition, the PN’s frigates will use two triple-cell AShM launchers as opposed to the two quad-cell AShM launchers found on the PLAN’s Type 054As.
The PN has not yet disclosed the type of AShM it will deploy from the Type 054A/P. The configuration may suggest that it is either the Harbah dual-AShM/land-attack cruise missile (LACM), or potentially the PN’s indigenous supersonic missile which has been under development as of 2018.
The Type 054A/P frigates are a component of the PN’s fleet modernization and expansion effort, which includes four Jinnah-class (MILGEM) corvettes and two 2,300-ton Damen Corvettes from Turkey and the Netherlands, respectively. The PN is slated to receive all of its new surface ships by the mid-2020s.
Click Here to Read More about the Pakistan Navy’s Modernization Efforts