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Istanbul Naval Shipyard Lays Keel for First Pakistani MILGEM

On 04 June 2020, the Pakistan Navy (PN) announced through social media that Istanbul Naval Shipyard (INSY) laid the keel for the first Pakistan Navy (PN) MILGEM corvette.

According to the PN, senior military officials attended the keel-laying ceremony. The PN Director General of Public Relations (DGPR) added that the MILGEM will be among the PN’s “most advanced platforms.”

Pakistan signed the contract for four ships in July 2018. Reportedly valued at $1.5 billion US, the program will see Turkey build two of the ships, while Pakistan’s Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) will manage the remaining two vessels under a transfer-of-technology (ToT) agreement.

In addition, the main Turkish contractor, Military Factory and Shipyard Corporation (ASFAT A.Ş.), will assist Pakistan’s Maritime Technology Complex (MTC) to design its own frigate. This ship will be Pakistan’s “first indigenously designed and constructed frigate,” and in turn, ASFAT A.Ş. the ship’s design rights to MTC.[1]

The PN is due to receive the first ship within 54 months of the program’s initiation, i.e., starting May 2019, while it will get the remaining three ships in 60, 66 and 72 months from the start-date.

INSY cut the steel for the lead ship in September 2019.

Pakistan selected the MILGEM following a tender in 2015-2016, and began negotiations for the vessels in 2016. Being Turkey’s defence export program up to that point, it was among a handful of projects Ankara approved a special credit/loan for from its own treasury.

Complete Information on Pakistan’s MILGEM Program | On 05 July 2018, the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) signed a deal with Turkey’s Military Factory and Shipyard Corporation (ASFAT A.Ş.) for the purchase of four customized MILGEM Ada corvettes for the Pakistan Navy (PN). | Continue.

Notes & Comments:

INSY showed the same illustration of the PN MILGEM it had displayed during the steel-cutting ceremony, i.e., the MILGEM Ada with a vertical launch system (VLS) system. It appears to be a 16-cell VLS, which the PN may use alongside the Chinese LY-80 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.

However, there is doubt as to whether the PN MILGEM will retain identical dimensions to the Ada corvette – the inclusion of VLS would likely require extending the hull. If this is the case, the PN MILGEM would be closer in length and displacement to the LF-2400, a VLS-equipped concept of the MILGEM Ada.

[1] Press Release. “Pakistan Navy Signed Contract for Acquisition of 4x MILGEM class warships with Turkey.” Press Information Department. Ministry of Information. Government of Pakistan. 05 July 2018. URL:

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