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The Pakistan Navy Rises (Part 3): The Support Fleet

With a growing surface fleet and sub-surface fleet, the Pakistan Navy (PN) is poised to not only modernize its support or auxiliary fleet, but qualitatively improve it with new capabilities.

Surface Fleet Support

At present, the PN’s support fleet comprises of two 15,000+ ton tankers – i.e. the 17,000-ton PNS Moawin, a new platform procured from Turkey and the Chinese Type 905 PNS Nasr – alongside two coastal tankers and two 1,600-ton small tankers and logistics ships.

Of these, the PNS Moawin and the 1,600-ton small tankers – i.e., PNS Rasadgar and PNS Madadgar – are the PN’s newer support ships, inducted in 2018 and 2011, respectively. The PNS Nasr and the two coastal tankers – i.e., PNS Gwadar and PNS Kalmat – were inducted in 1987, 1984 and 1992, respectively.

In terms of fleet tankers and auxiliary support ships, replacement ships would be sought to supplant the PN’s older fleet. However, this is unlikely to be a factor in the 2020s. Not only are these ships still newer than the steam-powered, 1960s-era Poolster-class tanker the new PNS Moawin replaced, but the PN may need those ships to sustain its expanding fleet through the 2020s.

In other words, the goal would be supplementing, not replacing the legacy fleet.

The existing support fleet is geared towards supporting the PN’s current-sized 2,000+ ton fleet, i.e., four F-22Ps, five Type 21s, and one FFG-7. With the Type 054A and MILGEM arriving – and Type 21s retiring – the PN’s 2,000+ ton fleet will have 13 such ships to its existing 10. That’s an additional squadron.

In addition, the PN will also have two 1,900-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) – with a potential scope for an additional two, if not more – that, while not as heavily armed as the frigates, will still be used for long-range and long-endurance missions. In other words, these ships will also need logistics support at-sea…

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