International

China building ‘advanced’ warships for Pak.: report

China is building the first of four “most advanced” naval warships for Pakistan as part of a major bilateral arms deal to ensure among other things “balance of power” in the strategic Indian Ocean, the state media reported.

Equipped with modern detection and weapon systems, it will be capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and air-defence operations, China Daily quoted state-owned defence contractor China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) as saying.

The under-construction ship is a version of the Chinese Navy’s most advanced guided missile frigate, it said.

CSSC did not specify the ship’s type but said it is being constructed at its Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.

China, an “all-weather ally” of Islamabad, is the largest supplier of weapon system to Pakistan. Both countries also jointly manufacturing the JF-Thunder, a single engine multi-role combat aircraft.

The ship’s class is Type 054AP, which means it is based on the Type 054A of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the report quoted the Pakistani Navy as saying.

The Pakistani Navy previously said four such ships had been ordered, according to the report.

‘Balance of power’

Once constructed, the warship “will be one of the largest and technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistani 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,” the report said.

It will also support the Pakistani Navy’s initiative of securing sea lanes for international shipping by patrolling distant waters, the daily quoted CSSC as saying.

The report said Type 054A is the best frigate in service with the PLA Navy. Military sources said the ship has a fully loaded displacement of about 4,000 metric tonnes and is equipped with advanced radars and missiles. About 30 Type 054As are in service with the PLA Navy.

An insider in China’s shipbuilding sector with knowledge of the Type 054AP programme told the Daily that the ship is the largest and most powerful combat vessel China has ever exported.

“Based on pictures circulating on the Internet, the ship will have vertical launch cells that can fire Chinese HQ-16 air-defence missiles and other kinds of missiles,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 10:03:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-building-advanced-warships-for-pak-report/article25892618.ece

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