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IDEAS 2018: Pakistan Navy MILGEM Corvette (and Frigate?) Update

In July 2018, Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) signed a contract with Turkey’s ASFAT A.S. (Military Factories and Shipyards Management Inc) for four MILGEM corvettes for the Pakistan Navy (PN).

Under the contract, Istanbul Shipyard and Karachi Shipyards & Engineering Works (KSEW) will each build two ships, the first of which is due in 2023. The fourth and final ship will join the PN in 2024.

In July, the Pakistani MoDP stated that it will receive “complete transfer of technology’ and the transfer of intellectual proprietary rights for the design of these ships to Pakistan.” Moreover, the fourth ship would not only be built at KSEW, but it will be the “first indigenously designed and constructed frigate.”

The statement implied that the final ship would be a different – potentially enlarged – design from the MILGEM Ada. Considering that the PN has a penchant of terming its Type 21 frigates as “destroyers,”the term “frigate” could simply internal nomenclature for the MILGEM Ada corvette (i.e., not mean anything).

However, at the 2018 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which took place in Karachi, Pakistan in 27-30 November, the PN confirmed that the fourth ship will be a different design.

Speaking to journalists (via Quomi Awaz News), a PN official stated:

“We have finalized a plan with our Turkish brothers to construct MILGEM-class corvettes and frigates. God willing, in this project – and for the first time – the proprietary rights of the design will be transferred to Pakistan Navy; and fourth ship, which will be constructed in Pakistan, will be of Pakistani design. And it will be God willing, the first Jinnah-class frigate.”

Thus, it appears that the fourth MILGEM ship will spur a new line, i.e., the Jinnah-class line. Neither ASFATA.S. or the PN have revealed information regarding the specifications or capabilities of this ship, but with the PN clearly stating that the first three ships are ‘corvettes’,it is implying that the fourth ship will be a larger, more capable design (and thus earn the term, ‘frigate’).

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