ISLAMABAD – Turkey and Pakistan have signed a memorandum of understanding on a mutual arms deal after which Turkey will buy 52 Pakistani training planes, while Pakistan will buy four Turkish corvette warships.

The military deal was confirmed by Turkey’s defence industry undersecretariat. Under the agreement, Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) will buy four Turkish corvettes made under Ankara’s MILGEM warship program, the purpose of which is to build a modern littoral combat warship with indigenous anti-submarine warfare and high-seas patrol capabilities.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s long-term partner Turkey is set to buy 52 Super Mushshak training propeller planes, made by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, to replace the Cessna T-41 and SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 planes currently in use.

What differentiates the deal from all other military agreements signed by Pakistan is the fact that it will be the first time a NATO country will use a Pakistani-built training plane.

The agreement comes in light of Turkey’s longstanding support of Pakistan. The Turkish president not only considers Pakistan as one of its closest affiliates but also stresses the need of dialogue for resolution of Kashmir issue.

Earlier in May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for “multilateral dialogue” on the issue of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territories.

“We should strengthen multilateral dialogue. We can be involved in multilateral dialogues. I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all. It will provide great benefits to both the countries.” Erdogan said, according to the Indian Express.

Erdogan who enjoys a good reputation in Pakistan lauded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and termed him as his “dear friend” and “a man of good intentions,” while urging Pakistan and India to keep dialogue channels open.

According to political analysts, Erdogan’s support for Pakistan is part of Turkey’s efforts to give a tough time to Saudi Arabia as an international leader of Sunni Muslims.

The Super Mushshak is an advanced variant of the Mushshak basic trainer (MFI-17 Mushshak) and is produced at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h. Range of the aircraft is reported at 814 kilometres.

The aircraft is already in service with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa, Nigeria and Qatar.

Basic flight training is provided on the aircraft for aspiring pilots.