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Pakistan signs contract to upgrade second Agosta 90B

According to an announcement by the Turkish defence contractor Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş. (STM) on 28 February, Pakistan has signed the contract to upgrade the Pakistan Navy’s second (of three) Agosta 90B submarines.

This follows an announcement in November 2016 by Hensoldt-owned Kelvin Hughes of supplying a second SharpEye low probability-of-intercept (LPI) radar to Pakistan for the Agosta 90B upgrade program.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) and STM finalized the contract to upgrade the Agosta 90Bs in June 2016. STM said it won the bid thanks to a “technically and commercially superior” offering, claiming to have beaten the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Naval Group (formerly DCNS).

The first upgraded submarine – PNS Khalid – is due for delivery by 2020, with the subsequent two to follow within 12 months (each) of the previous upgraded ship. Kelvin Hughes revealed that the second ship to undergo the upgrade will be the PNS Saad, which will undergo the retrofit in 2019.

Pakistan signed for the three Agosta 90Bs in 1994. The lead-ship, PNS Khalid, was delivered to Pakistan in 1999, with the PNS Saad and PNS Hamza arriving in 2003 and 2006, respectively. These will be joined by eight new Hangor-class submarines (potentially S26) acquired from China by 2028.

This is among three projects STM is currently carrying out for Pakistan, along with the 17,000-ton Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker and a hydrographic/oceanographic survey and port design at Ormara. STM is pushing for a fourth program with Pakistan through the MILGEM corvette.

Notes & Comments:

Turkey’s previous defence minister Fikri Işık stated that the total value of the Agosta 90B upgrade program is $350 million U.S. STM is carrying out the upgrade at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW), though it involves sub-systems from numerous OEMs, including: Aselsan for the ARES-2SC electronic support measures (ESM); Havelsan for its Sonar Integrated Submarine Command and Control (SEDA) suite; Kelvin Hughes SharpEye LPI Doppler radar; and Hensoldt Optronics South Africa OMS-200 optronic mast and SERO 250 periscope (IHS Jane’s; IHS Jane’s; C4 Defence; MSI). The SEDA was designed to provide situational awareness through sensor fusion of the submarine’s radar, sonar and ESM.

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  • by Omar Dar
    Posted February 28, 2018 11:37 pm 0Likes

    Pakistan has been very efficient in its procurement programs. India had been pursuing the same thing with their Kilo class but mismanaged to such an extent that the Kilo class is now sailing with obsolete and malfunctioning periscopes. All that the Indians can say on this is that “we can afford to spend this money without getting services”. Very happy to see that the Pakistani military is making the best use of its resources.

  • by Shreyansh Rattra
    Posted March 1, 2018 12:38 am 0Likes

    India is now making its own subs,nuke too,slbms tested,and is moving ahead still partying abt an upgrade 😛 ? seriously? lets open both our eyes and look what lies ahead

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 1, 2018 2:37 am 0Likes

    I’ll take it for much needed capability advancement, but really shameful performance by PN after all that ToT, still unable to build a single domestic submarine or in a JV if it’s too much to ask. Still looking to Chinese to supply new subs. Pathetic.

  • by Shershahsuri
    Posted March 1, 2018 5:10 am 0Likes

    Had Pakistan worked vigorously on domestic production from 80s, everything could be different now. But it realized from late 90s, so still Pakistan has to work and wait for many years to get mastery over sophisticated war tech.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 1, 2018 5:58 am 0Likes

    There was a plan for Pakistan to produce a nuke sub. Any updates on that? Or has the third limb of the triad been decided on naval cruise missiles launched by S-26, like the Israelis?

  • by Steve
    Posted March 1, 2018 6:10 am 0Likes

    Agree. I think a JV with the Turks will be a way forward. We do lack in manpower and infrastructure as well as metallurgy and electronics. Needs a sustained decades long effort to fix. We also have no companies like Havelsan. Why don’t we force Mujhe Kwoon Nikala and Mr. 10% to invest their ill gotten wealth into making naval ships and subs rather than road rollers and low quality steel products. At least the nation will benefit. We’re sure they are rich enough with the cash they stashed overseas and bought Dubai multi-storey hotels with.

  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 1, 2018 7:55 am 0Likes

    A mini nature sub marine is already under construction at Karachi shipping & engineers works. Please don’t send another kulboshan to sabotage that project.

  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 1, 2018 7:55 am 0Likes

    I’m not sure if it’s a nuclear or not but a mini nature sub in under construction.

  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 1, 2018 7:56 am 0Likes

    A mini nature sub marine is under construction at KSEW.

  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 1, 2018 7:57 am 0Likes

    Bilal, do you have any information related to the mini nature sub marine that Pakistan wants to or is constructing at KSEW ? Is it a nuclear sub or a conventional ?

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 1, 2018 8:37 am 0Likes

    The initiative has to come from PN itself. Even with illegal monies coming back (not likely), the initiative and plan will need to be from PN, much like PAF. What i see is the drive for domestic sourcing completely missing – even with the golden opportunity in hand in backdrop of CPEC where defence ministry and other military arms will (have to) accept the larger proportions of budgets going to PN in an effort to build own vessels, nothing is done here. The basic reason for PN acquiring 8 new subs is not PNs own initiative, it’s the strategic command pushing PN to complete nuclear triad since babur is modified into a marine version with capability to be launched from subs. PN itself is skinning mangoes. Larger CPEC responsibility is thrusted upon PN by the Army making sure CPEC security. All missile boats and upgrades are in that context. Pakistan navy needs to initiate own programmes and show they can deliver something. Both army and airforce have some acceptable degree of domestic programmes in place while the navy is importing missile boats too from China. That’s real pathetic performance.

  • by Mohamed Ahmed
    Posted March 1, 2018 12:00 pm 0Likes

    “India is now making its own subs,nuke too,slbms tested,and is moving ahead still partying abt an upgrade” ,,,,,,,, India’s main problem is its corruption in military procurement. let us see how far that goes as even India’s own military does’t want to buy Indian arms.

  • by Headstrong
    Posted March 1, 2018 1:38 pm 0Likes

    Hear that Naval Group has issued a legal notice to the PN protesting the deal with STM for upgrades calling it a breach of contract as confidential design issues would be shared with a business rival.

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 1, 2018 2:05 pm 0Likes

    Haha. Seriously? If India is so technologically advanced and has started producing its “own” subs, then why is it still licensing conventional Scorpene class subs from France? And if India is capable of building subs, then why did it fail in such a simple task like importing foreign periscopes to install on its imported subs? You are right. You should open your eyes and stop daydreaming.

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 1, 2018 2:09 pm 0Likes

    Man I don’t have any inside info, and I haven’t heard of any plans to build a nuclear submarine indigenously. In any case, in my opinion, I think the SLCMs are more than capable of fulfilling our nuclear triad in a cost effective manner. We only need them as a defensive weapon against India and an SLCM is perfect for them.

  • by Shreyansh Rattra
    Posted March 1, 2018 11:16 pm 0Likes

    Corruption …? Who’s giving me the lesson ? the green flag:P

  • by Shreyansh Rattra
    Posted March 1, 2018 11:19 pm 0Likes

    Well even in that task it cant beat pakistan 😛
    Name one vessel you made on you own without removing “made in China” Tag 😛
    and we’were probably day dreaming in 1947 while we donated some football field land 😛
    anyways forgot Shivalik Clas,Kolkata Class,vishakhapatnam class,Brahmputra class,Delhi Class?
    Well thats the short answers to the nightmare of your admiral
    i hope you’ll bequite happy with 8 of your fishing boats coming from china …. probably you can claim its pakistani 😛 and mock us anyhow how’s ur US made 2nd hand frigates or French Agostas ?
    Dont forget the Aircraft carrier we operate is half the defense budget of yours 😛 so better mock someone of your level … errr madagascar ?
    *and Quwa team ! decide one thing you want a fair opinion by every reader or just something that you want to read in the comments section.

  • by Picostar
    Posted March 1, 2018 11:44 pm 0Likes

    Pakistan submarine force is in a poor state.
    Out of 3 Agosta 90B submarines only 2 are operational as one undergoing refit.
    The 2 Agosta 70s are nearly 40 years old so only one operational at a time.

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 2, 2018 12:26 am 0Likes

    I would like to disagree with your comment. The PN is doing quite well in the circumstances of the country. Designing, developing and building an indigenous platform is an extremely risky and costly endeavor, which is frankly not that urgently needed in the face of more pressing social issues facing Pakistan right now. It is more cost effective to import or license a submarine, and use the other resources to provide clean water to the people. With time, Pakistan will build everything IA.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 2, 2018 2:10 am 0Likes

    I lost you after “PN is doing quite well”…

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 2, 2018 3:31 am 0Likes

    That’s not really surprising actually.

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 2, 2018 3:32 am 0Likes

    Pakistan’s arch rival is in an even worse state.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 2, 2018 4:41 am 0Likes

    Why don’t you help “Naval group” in the ICJ and UNO and MTCR etc etc against Pakistan. That’s all you guys are good at (If you can’t beat them whinge about them!) 🙂

  • by Steve
    Posted March 2, 2018 4:44 am 0Likes

    Seems like the senior officers need to be retired and younger more aggressive strategic thinkers promoted. An across the bord revamp is needed. Bajwa is no dummy and may initiate that.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 2, 2018 4:49 am 0Likes

    Not for long. A lot has been ordered. And btw thanks for commiserating with Pakistan for submarines.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 2, 2018 7:45 am 0Likes

    The PN Agostas remain the most potent hunter killer subs in the region. Fortunately the PN knows how to operate them professionally and not leave the hatches open for fresh air or take them out in the ocean for upside-down drive.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 2, 2018 7:50 am 0Likes

    The answer is developing and considering PN into the most potent and important military arm of all branches. The kind of venture they have embarked upon with CPEC demands that.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted March 2, 2018 7:53 am 0Likes

    Hi Jigsaw, did you see Putin’s speech regarding Russia’s new upcoming weapon systems. Look forward to hearing your input sometime!

  • by Bloom17
    Posted March 2, 2018 12:00 pm 0Likes

    Propaganda to keep its people happy. There is no proof.

  • by jamshed_kharian_pak
    Posted March 2, 2018 2:15 pm 0Likes


  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 2, 2018 2:41 pm 0Likes

    Obviously such programs are kept secret

  • by sami shahid
    Posted March 2, 2018 2:42 pm 0Likes

    Their might be trying to develop a sub marine just like Pakistan is but right now they are buying sub marines from other countries just like us

  • by Omar Dar
    Posted March 2, 2018 2:43 pm 0Likes

    Haha. This is hilarious. Unlike India, Pakistan has never claimed license production as indigenous designs.The PNS is doing its job well enough, and our second hand frigates and Agostas are perfectly fine. How is your INS Sindhurakshak? I hear it is protecting the Indian coast at the bottom of the Mumbai harbor. In fact, the INS Prahar, INS Dunagiri and INS Vindyagiri are all accompanying the INS Sindhurakshak at the bottom of the Indian ocean because the Indian Navy is so competent in sending its own super weapons to the bottom of the sea, in peace time no less. Yes, the PNS admirals are struck down with nightmares. But that is mainly because the accidents caused by the INS are polluting the ocean!

    And yes, thank you for reminding us that the Indian navy operates an aircraft carrier at a cost of more than half the total budget of the PNS, but that aircraft carrier’s aircraft cannot launch at full load and malfunction so much that the fleet availability is less than 30%. So when the INS Vikramaditya, after costing so much to India, does sortie against Pakistan, it won’t be able to launch more than 12 aircraft out of its full complement of 36, and the 12 MIG-29s it does launch will only have a couple of weapons and only a marginal fuel load which in turn means that they won’t be able to battle the PAF patrolling the Pakistan coast. Wow, that is a great achievement of India.

    p.s QUWA team, please do approve my post. I think I have provided factual information which is much more relevant.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 3, 2018 6:01 am 0Likes

    Yep kind of. And i suppose you’re all thinking of the nuclear powered cruise missile he mentioned? Guess that’s the real take away from it – other weapon systems i’d believe Russia has or is on verge of acquiring. I think we need to wait for Russians to unveil the CM…Really can’t say anything for sure…

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted March 3, 2018 7:26 am 0Likes

    That and the long range underwater drone sound very interesting.

  • by TZK
    Posted March 3, 2018 9:19 am 0Likes

    Due to the lack of strategic depth on land the military planners will always look at land defences first. In relation to PN it’s role is not force projection but to keep the port and sea lanes open and this can be achieved from the air and below the sea. Of course you need physical presence on the surface but in my opinion these should only be for providing air defence because we are dealing with a small part of the Arabian sea. The ocean is vast and it is very easy to over extend and leave the shoreline unprotected.

  • by Joseph
    Posted March 3, 2018 12:34 pm 0Likes

    Of all the weapons I think the nuclear powered cruise missile is the least likely becoming a reality, because if it is possible it would have profound implications to aviation industry.

    If a nuclear powered cruise missile is possible and have virtually unlimited range then what would stop people using the engine on long range strategic bombers and maybe even on commercial airliners? If a nuclear engine burns no fuel was possible surely Boeing and Airbus would have thought about it already.

    If that is going to work in the near future then we are entering a new age. Of course even if it is working it is likely “dirty”, but once you can shrink a nuclear reactor small enough to fit inside of a cruise missile engine, all the other issues I think can be resolved.

    Also Putin did not say anything about rail gun technology, that is an interesting omission. He mentioned all the other cutting edge technologies like hyper-sonic glide vehicles and high energy laser (troops? the army?).

    For people who are interested, here is the full list of weapons Putin mentioned:

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 3, 2018 12:47 pm 0Likes

    I agree and the worst part is the permission to setup a military base is without knowledge of public in general. It’s not discussed at any civilian forum. With time the chinese interest will get stronger than pakistan’s own interest if not checked. The military continues to take independent decisions because current civilian lot of schmucks have interest only in commissions from tenders and construction.

    I certainly hope that chinese pakistani relationship on CPEC is checked and kept in check without inviting too much presence or military personnel from china unless a mutual pact is signed on equality. It can be negotiated but someone needs to do that.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 3, 2018 12:48 pm 0Likes

    Yep but Chinese and US are also working on it. US has them deployed too in some ways. That one is an expected platform – but the other one will be a great game changer for Russia.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 3, 2018 12:50 pm 0Likes

    Hey what is a “mini nature sub marine”? Really! You keep saying it all over. And how is that a worthwhile asset anyway?

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted March 3, 2018 1:34 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the link, Joseph. Time will tell how far Russia will progress with any of these weapons. Right now we have to take Putin’s speech in the context of the upcoming elections but certainly a lot of interesting stuff even if, as Jigsaw points out not all of it is unexpected.

  • by Joseph
    Posted March 3, 2018 1:55 pm 0Likes

    No worries. Even though I am skeptical about this but I really hope it could become a reality. The technology could have many groundbreaking applications outside military in aviation and even space industry. I think it could even help Elon Musk colonising Mars (A portable reactor not only could provide power during the journey to Mars but also continue to provide power for the camp or base on Mars).

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted March 3, 2018 2:09 pm 0Likes

    I hope I live long enough to see manned mission to Mars!

  • by Steve
    Posted March 3, 2018 3:40 pm 0Likes

    The point of the entire exercise was to show that America’s missile defence can be beaten at least ATM, and to flex muscles on the global stage with an election imminent. This is USA specific especially ABM treaty withdrawal. That’s why no railguns etc. Of course the idea of a nuclear ramjet cruise missile is not new. In the Cold War America had something called Project Pluto which was based on an small unshielded nuclear reactor to power a supersonic cruise missile at low altitude. A rocket booster brought the missile to ramjet speed and the reactor was then made critical. This was also tested on a railroad car but never built, mainly because ICBM’s became so accurate and effective.
    The engine burns hotter than aircraft engines and advances in metallurgy and material science may have been the key for Russia to claim this. Environmentally it’s a disaster but I don’t think Russia is going to get too bothered about that!

  • by Steve
    Posted March 3, 2018 3:44 pm 0Likes

    Hi Joseph, nuclear reactors are already in space powering a host of spacecraft but only for low thrust propulsion and as a power source for cameras, communications etc. The summary attached gives an overview.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 3, 2018 3:52 pm 0Likes

    If NASA was given even a 10th of the USA defence budget we would have permanent settlements on the moon and Mars by now. Unfortunately the MIC and their lobbyists have elected officials in their pockets and there is no profit in peaceful space exploration, with global collaboration. Only in making yet better machines to kill other humans. The money USA spends on weapons is an obscenity. More that the next 10 countries combined! But the USA public has been so inured and some would say brainwashed by the media, they focus on making money and entertainment and have a polarised world view (you know who controls most of the media), so they can’t think about anything else and can’t/won’t do anything about it.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 3, 2018 4:08 pm 0Likes

    I agree with you. There are however two problems; we may be threatened by other enemies who are further away, where a SLCM cannot be used. Secondly the stated range of Babur is 750km, not enough to threaten all of India particularly the central part and the Ganges plain without putting the sub so close to enemy shore that you risk detection especially with all those P8’s that our ‘ally’ has helpfully sold them. SLBM will be needed long term in today’s dangerous world. As a minimum we need Babur’s range to be 1500 km.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 3, 2018 4:33 pm 0Likes

    Well welcome back mr headstrong, I am very pleased you did not succumb to Delhi’s notorious air and water pollution 😉 You are Naval group’s best friend now courtesy of the hugely expensive (leaked plans) Scorpene subs, so you really should help them with their PR. I would not be surprised if you asked them to whinge at us, as you get a grand prize in whinging about Pakistan to the whole world. Interesting that there is absolutely no insight about how pathetic that is, a large country with superpower pretensions is constantly complaining about a much smaller neighbour.

  • by Joseph
    Posted March 3, 2018 8:00 pm 0Likes

    What you are talking about is actually something like radioisotope generator, which is considered more as battery than reactor: Like the nuclear battery on Mars rover.

    Nuclear batteries have very low efficiency, at least for now they can not generate significant power, currently only few hundred watts or less (a standard light bulb is about 60 watts), they are usually used in space where solar cells are not practical:

    To power an aircraft or cruise missile engine I think it needs to either generating significantly more heat or much more electricity. I believe that requires a reactor. There are miniature reactors, but they are currently only small enough maybe to fit in a shipping container:

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted March 3, 2018 9:07 pm 0Likes

    Don’t get personal, Steve.

  • by TZK
    Posted March 4, 2018 3:21 am 0Likes

    The MIC will no doubt use the latest Russian revelations as an excuse to scare the politicians into giving them more money. Immediately after the collapse of USSR China and their weapons suddenly became more dangerous.

  • by Joseph
    Posted March 4, 2018 4:00 am 0Likes

    LOL, that is true. Putin’s speech is a godsend for US military industry complex. They have been looking for reasons to maintain or even increase the already very high military budget by international standard, mainly by playing up Chinese threat.

    Trump has been increasing US military spending since elected (I think it is now around 4% of GDP in 2017, and there will be significant increase in 2018 as well: ) I believe mainly due to the backing of defense industry in election. And now he can say:”See, I was right. I knew Russians have been doing this all along.”

    Ironically it is in the US military industrial complex’s best interest to increase the defense capability of Russia and China. I even wonder whether US defense department has helped China to get that old Russian carrier, which is now known as Liaoning.

  • by Joseph
    Posted March 4, 2018 4:58 am 0Likes

    That is very possible, the Russian missile does seem to have very similar characteristics of Project Pluto. The fact it’s an air launched missile could mean the reactor is still unshielded and very dirty, which is why it won’t be launched from land.

    But air launch would also limit the size of missile, which means a very small reactor.

  • by Jigsaw
    Posted March 4, 2018 6:38 am 0Likes

    I think you should generalize your personalization next time. Instead of “you”, go with “you people”. That’s how Indians see Pakistan and that’s how they want to be seen themselves – they’re all the same! Insecure to start with.

  • by TZK
    Posted March 4, 2018 10:59 am 0Likes

    I assume you are talking about corruption in the defence industry and from what I gather India has a massive budget compared to Pak and there have been a quite a few scandals over the years.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 4, 2018 11:15 am 0Likes

    Haha ok mod. “You” was a generic term for India rather than the esteemed respected mr headstrong. Could not be bothered to clarify as should be obvious. He is trying his best to appear reasonable but I’ll let it go. I do generate a lot of responses every time I post so good for your website lol. A bit of rough and tumble never hurt anyone and generates interest.

  • by Steve
    Posted March 4, 2018 11:20 am 0Likes

    Haha ok cool!

  • by Steve
    Posted March 4, 2018 11:22 am 0Likes

    Sir your issue raised was about denigrating and criticising Pakistan but hiding behind a smokescreen and appearing ‘reasonable’. Hyper nationalism..haha good term and accurate lol! There are millions of us in Pakistan and abroad. Highly educated, rational, scientific and realistic. We are different from Sang Parivar or RSS or VHP etc etc. as our patriotism is not directed against minorities.

  • by Saikat Misra
    Posted March 4, 2018 2:23 pm 0Likes

    LCA project is a very successful project.This leads to the inhouse development of HMD, AESR, Ejection seats, in-flight refilling prob, IRST,Most important a turbojet engine (Safran is helping to make a Cristal blade).
    It had taken a lot of time because drdo was building every single equipment for the jet.No other institution had done the same things. Previously it had some issues,But now it’s look ok because IAF recently ordered another 210 aircraft, and scrapped the f16 and grippin tender.It’s really a big deal cuz IAF always acts like a spoiled child of a rich dad and wanted star war like weapons. Also HAL came out of the deal with GE for engine.
    Yes, it had cost a lot.Investments in R&D is always risky, but it always give some knowledge for future, this is how ISRO is doing great job.

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