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Pakistan Navy Chief Outlines Aviation Modernization Plans

The Pakistan Navy (PN) Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, outlined in an interview that the PN is working to acquire long-range maritime patrol aircraft (LRMPA), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and multi-mission helicopters.[1] The CNS did not reveal the status of any of these programs, or the expected procurement timeline. However, the PN rarely seems to comment on potential acquisitions prior to signing a contract or starting a project. Thus, all three programs are likely active at this stage…[end of excerpt]

Supporting New Surface Warships With Helicopters

The PN currently has four Type 054A/P frigates, four MILGEM corvettes, and two Yarmouk-class corvettes on order. The PN is aiming to procure its 10 new ships by the mid-2020s, which will join its four Zulfiquar-class/F-22P frigates and, likely, replace its three remaining Babur-class/Type-21 frigates.

However, in terms of shipborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters that can operate from ships in the 2,000-ton to 4,000-ton displacement range, the PN relies on only six Z-9ECs.[2] These currently operate with the PN’s four F-22P frigates…[end of excerpt]

Extending ISR Coverage With Long-Range, Long-Endurance Drones

The CNS’ recent comment on UAVs builds on an official PN news release in January 2020, stating, “Pakistan Navy’s developmental plans include acquisition of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) in support of maritime operations.”[3] The PN already operates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for surveillance – e.g., the EMT Penzberg LUNA NG – but the CNS’ statements imply that a larger system is in the pipeline…[end of excerpt]

Designing a Successor to the P-3C Orion LRMPA

Finally, the CNS’ comments about a new LRMPA is likely in reference to its in-house program to configure a twin-engine VIP jet into an anti-ship warfare (AShW) and ASW-capable asset. With a required maximum take-off-weight (MTOW) of 120,000 lbs to 140,000 lbs, the PN is evidently seeking a large aircraft, which could point to a desire to deploy heavy munition and sensor loads (so as to supplant the P-3C)…[end of excerpt]

End of Excerpt (313/1,328 words)

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[1] Press Release. “Pakistan Navy Inducts MPA & Unmanned Aerial Systems.” Director General Public Relations – Pakistan Navy. 04 January 2020. URL:

[1] Dr. Lee Willett. “Admiral Modernises Pakistan Navy To Meet Non-Traditional Threats.” Armada International. 15 May 2020. URL:

[3] “Karachi: Anti-submarine helicopters inducted into Pakistan Navy.” Dawn News. 01 October 2009. URL: