Pakistan Navy Plans
On 07 October 2020, the Chief of Naval Staff (Zafar Mahmood Abbasi), In a speech, outlined the service’s modernization plans for 2030 across its surface, sub-surface, and aviation domains & emphasized that the PN will aggressively expand its deployment capabilities, and, in parallel, its in-house development capacity.
Historically, the PN operated around eight or nine ‘major’ surface ships (i.e., multi-mission frigates, corvettes, or destroyers with a displacement of over 2,000 tons). However, Adm. Abbasi highlighted that the small force size “constrained [Pakistan’s] regional footprint and influence.
The PN has already taken several organizational steps to absorb these upcoming changes which includes expanding the Surface Fleet to Over 50 Ships.
- Abbasi revealed that the PN will receive four Type 054A/P frigates from China between 2021 to 2023, 1 of which is in service with the Pak navy currently, designated as PNS Tughril (Tughril Class Frigates).
- In addition, the four MILGEM corvettes designated as “Babur Class Corvettes” will join the PN fleet from 2023 to 2025. Currently two ships are under construction in Istanbul shipyard while two are under construction in Karachi shipyard.
- The apparent free transfer of a Chinese Yuan-class submarines to train Pakistani crews for its eight Hangor class submarines.
- Developing the hypersonic P282 ship-launched anti-ship/land-attack hypersonic missile.
- Establishing the Naval Research and Development Institute to nurture indigenous design talent.
- Replacing of the P-3C Orion patrol aircraft with 10 Sea Sultans, the first of which has been bought currently under customization.
- Acquiring medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as 20 indigenous gunboats, which are to be commissioned by 2025.
To this end, Adm. Abbasi had outlined two main programs:
“The Jinnah-class frigate and the purchase of six ships of larger tonnage.”
Threat from Growing Indian Navy
Indian navy has always been very large in terms of fleet compared to Pak navy and is getting stronger with procurements from the west being a part of the QUAD.
As of May 2022, the Indian Navy possesses 1 aircraft carrier while 1 being in trails, 1 amphibious transport dock, 8 Landing ship tanks, 10 destroyers, 12 frigates, 1 Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, 16 conventionally powered attack submarines, 23 corvettes, 8 Landing Craft Utility, 10 large offshore patrol vessels, 5 fleet tankers and various auxiliary vessels and small patrol boats. Indian navy has always possessed an aggressive doctrine having a large fleet.
Pakistan Navy’s Destroyer’s Plan & Options
As Adm. Abbasi had mentioned in his speech that Pak Navy is focusing on the purchase of six ships of larger tonnage (other than Jinnah class frigates, definitely destroyers).
Let’s have a look at the Destroyer options available for Pakistan Navy. Due to the geopolitical situation and sanctions from the west only 3 options seem to be available for Pakistan Navy’s future destroyer accusation.
TF-2000 Class Destroyer
The TF-2000-class destroyer is an 8500tons projected anti-air warfare destroyer currently under development by the Turkish Naval Institute. Turkey has progressed a lot in indigenization of defense items since past few years & in the naval sector Turkey is quite independent.
TF-2000 destroyer will have 64-cell MILDAS VLS which will be able to fire G40 surface to air missile, Gezgin Land Attack (Cruise) Missile and it will be equipped with Atmaca Anti-Ship missile. Also will have RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile as Close in Weapons System and mark 45 naval gun.
As turkey is a friendly country of Pakistan and both countries are already mutually working on corvettes and designing frigates so it can be speculated that Pak Navy might go for custom multirole variant of TF-2000 Destroyer.
The Type 052D destroyer is a class of guided missile destroyers of 7500tons in the Chinese PLA Navy. The Type 052D is a larger and advanced variant of the Type 052C.
The Type 52D is the first Chinese surface ship to use canister-based universal VLS, as compared to the concentric type VLS carried aboard earlier vessels. It has 64 cells VLS which can fire the extended-range variant of the HHQ-9 surface-to-air missile, YJ-18 anti-ship supersonic cruise missiles, 1 × HQ-10 short-range SAM 24-cell launcher and CY-5 anti-submarine missiles. The main gun is a 130 mm weapon. It is completed with the larger 11-barrelled Type 1130 CIWS.
The Type 052D is equipped with Type 346A liquid cooled AESA radar with a range of 450+km and Type 518 L-band radar.
As china is all weather, trusted strategic ally of Pakistan and both the countries are working on many military as well as other projects so it is most likely due to the west sanctions and china being self-independent and close ally of Pakistan, Pak Navy might go for the Type 052D destroyers as they are very capable destroyers in PLA Navy’s fleet and PLA navy operates 20 of such destroyers.
The Type 055 destroyer (Renhai-class cruiser) is a class of stealth guided missile destroyers/cruisers of 13000tons currently in service in the Chinese PLA Navy. Type 055 class considered one of the most advanced, heavily armed and capable destroyers/cruisers of the World.
The primary armament are missiles carried in 112-cell vertical launching system (VLS), 64 cells forward and 48 cells aft. The VLS is capable of hot and cold launches using concentric canisters. The longest variant, with 9-metre cells, is likely used. The Type 055 can carry HHQ-9 extended range surface-to-air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship supersonic cruise missiles, CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles, 1 × HQ-10 short-range SAM 24-cell launcher and missile-launched anti-submarine torpedoes upon entering service. The larger cells also carry anti-ship ballistic missiles. The main gun is a 130 mm weapon. It is completed with the larger 11-barrelled Type 1130 CIWS. The Type 055 destroyer/cruiser is equipped with Type 346B Dragon Eye (C/S-band) radar with a range of 450+km and X-band radar.
Future variants of Type 055 cruisers will be armed with lasers or electromagnetic railguns and hypersonic cruise missiles. The (PLA) Navy has recently released footage of a test launch of a hypersonic ship launched ballistic missile integrated onto a Type 055 Class destroyer. Reportedly designated YJ-21 missile.
The chances of Pakistan Navy getting future/advanced variant of Type 055 Cruisers are likely very high as it is one of the most armed and lethal destroyer/cruiser in the World.