Karachi Shipyard will produce two more F-22P frigates for the Pakistan Navy, bringing the total number to six. The yard is currently building a fast attack craft for the Navy, as well as a wide variety of other vessels and equipment.
An authoritative source at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works told defenceWeb that the new order was in the pipeline while China Shipbuilding Trading Company confirmed that the purchase of the two additional vessels was under discussion.
The first F-22P or Zulfiquar class multi-purpose frigate was commissioned in September 2009. The Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, China State Shipbuilding Company, the China Shipbuilding and Trading Company and Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) are all involved in the production of the vessels.
The first three frigates were built in China at the Hudong-Zhonghau Shipyard, while the last vessel was built by Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. This vessel is currently undergoing sea trials and is scheduled to be delivered in April next year.
The class carry Harbin Z-9 helicopters and are armed with a 76 mm gun, 30 mm Type 730B close-in weapons systems, FM-90N surface-to-air missiles, C-802 surface-to-surface missiles, ET-52C torpedoes and RDC-32 anti-submarine rockets.
The F-22P project resulted in a major modernisation of KSEW in terms of machines and infrastructure, with extensive upgrades taking place in 2008 and 2009. These upgrades included installing new gantry and lifting cranes as well as manufacturing equipment.
KSEW has two main projects underway for the Pakistan Navy: the F-22P frigates and Azmat class fast attack craft (FAC). The 560 ton fast attack craft feature surface-to-surface missiles, are 60 metres long, have a range of 1 000 nautical miles and a top speed of 30 knots. The first, PNS Azmat, was built in China by Xingang Shipyard and entered Pakistan Navy service in June this year while the second FAC, PNS Dehshat, was launched in August at KSEW. The vessels are built in collaboration with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation under a technology transfer agreement.
KSEW in roughly a month’s time will cut steel on a training vessel for the Pakistan Navy, similar to the fast attack craft. The yard is building a pusher tug for the Pakistan Navy, which should be delivered by the end of next year. It is expecting an order from the Pakistan Navy for a 15-18 000 ton fleet tanker. China and Turkey are a couple of the bidders for this project, but the vessel itself will be built in Karachi.
KSEW is also building more than half a dozen aluminium boats for the Pakistan Army.
KSEW has three core business areas: building military and civil vessels, ship repair and heavy engineering. It builds vessels for all of Pakistan’s port authorities, and in 2011 delivered two barges, two pusher tugs and a dredge tender to Karachi’s Port Trust. Since inception in the 1950s the yard has built around 440 different vessels and is equipped to build vessels up to 26 000 tons (this limit is imposed by dock size), such as naval vessels, tugs, dredgers, hopper barges, ferries, trawlers and launches.
Ship repair is a major part of KSEW’s activities and the company has so far repaired more than 5 000 domestic and international vessels. In order to enhance the capacity for shipbuilding and repair, KSEW is installing a ship lift and transfer system, which is due to be completed by 2013.
KSEW has extensive general engineering capabilities and builds sugar plants, cranes, boilers and pressure vessels, cement plants, towers, drilling rigs and other heavy equipment.