ISLAMABAD/ANKARA – Turkey will sell four corvette ships to Pakistan’s navy, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu agency on Thursday.
Turkey and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase last year, and now Canikli says that the deal is finalised. “This will be the largest single export in the history of Turkish defense industry,” he told reporters.
Turkey’s STM signed a letter of intent in May 2017 to manufacture four Ada class MILGEM corvettes for Pakistan, and the contract was signed in November. Two of the ships will be manufacturered at Karachi Shipyard and two others in Istanbul, Canikli said.
Last October, the Turkish corvette TCG Buyukada arrived in Karachi to take part in exercises with the Pakistan Navy. STM CEO Davut Yilma said in May 2017 that the cost will be $250 million per ship.
The MILGEM project is the national Turkish corvette and frigate building program. Ada (Turkish for island) class corvettes weigh 2,300 tons, measure 99 meters long and have a maximum speed of 29 knots. They feature an Mk-144 guided missile launcher and SMART-S Mk2 3D air/surface search and Sting fire control radars.
The Ada class corvettes’ weapons include a 76 millimeter naval gun, four 324 mm torpedo tubes, eight launchers for anti-ship missiles and the RIM-116 close-in weapon system.
The corvette can accommodate a crew of 93 and a Seahawk helicopter on its flight deck.
Turkey aims to be self-sufficient in defense by 2023, when it hopes to be producing its own aircraft carrier.
The country has long-standing defense ties with Pakistan, such as helping Islamabad modernize its ships and US-made F-16 fighter aircraft.
“No Turk forgets the help of Pakistani Muslims during the War of Independence, neither today nor tomorrow,” Isik said. “For this reason, the contribution of Turkey to Pakistan’s development will always be given at a high level and will continue to be given.”
Under the LOI, Pakistan will also deliver Super Mushshak training planes to replace the T-41 and SF-260 aircraft currently used by Turkey.
Pakistan is acquiring new ships to expand and modernize its fleet and meet increasing domestic littoral defence needs. Defense News reported in December that the Pakistani Navy is also acquiring a Chinese Type 054A Jiangkai II frigate as the first ship to replace its six Type 21 frigates built in the 1970s and acquired from the United Kingdom almost 30 years ago.
STM is also set to modernize one of Pakistan’s Agosta 90B submarines originally manufactured by France’s Naval Group.