China starts building the largest and most advanced warship for Pakistan Navy
The Type 054 AP frigate being constructed at a Chinese shipyard for Pakistan Navy (PN) will strengthen its capability to respond future challenges, maintain peace and stability and balance of power in Indian Ocean region, said Cao Weidong, a senior researcher at the PLA's Naval Military Studies Research Institute.
In the past, Cao added, the Pakistani Navy would ask its Chinese contractors to use Western radars or weapons on ships constructed by Chinese shipbuilders because it believed Western naval technologies were better than Chinese ones.
"But it seems that all weapons and radars on the new ship will be Chinese products, which reflects our progress in the industry and the Pakistani Navy's confidence in our technology and capability," he said.
Cao said there are many nations selling frigates in the market, so Pakistan must have made thorough comparisons in terms of combat capability and costs.
"I believe the reason they chose our type is that ours is one of the few that can carry out all of the air-defense, anti-ship, and anti-submarine tasks," he said, expecting the service of the Chinese frigate to substantially boost Pakistan's defense capability.
The warship will be China's largest and most powerful vessel export, Cao further said.
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According to China State Shipbuilding Corp, a large State-owned defense exporter, China had recently started construction of an export version of one of its advanced warships and will deliver it to Pakistan.
It said the ship is a version of the Chinese Navy's most advanced guided missile frigate. The ship is under construction at its Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, noting it will be equipped with modern detection and weapon systems and will be capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and air-defense operations.
In December 2018, the Pakistan Navy said that once constructed, the warship will be one of the largest and technologically advanced platforms of Pakistan's Navy and strengthen the country's capability to respond to future challenges, maintain peace and stability and the balance of power in the Indian Ocean region.
“It will also support the Pakistani Navy's initiative of securing sea lanes for international shipping by patrolling distant waters,” it said in a statement on its twitter account.
Steel Cutting ceremony of first war ship of Type 054 A/P Frigates Project being built for Pakistan Navy was held at Hudong Zhonghua (HZ) Shipyard China. See More.. https://t.co/owKFJLtEgj pic.twitter.com/ud7nBdkJSo— DGPR (Navy) (@dgprPaknavy) December 20, 2018
The Type 054A ship has a loaded displacement of 4,000 metric tonnes and is equipped with advanced radars and missiles.
The ship will have vertical launch cells that can fire Chinese HQ-16 air-defense missiles and other kinds of missiles.
Vertical launch cells will bring flexibility to the user in terms of weapons portfolio, thus giving it a stronger fighting capability. The Type 054AP is the best frigate Pakistan can access in the international market, according to Chinese officials.
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