Pakistan’s Navy is racing to plug operational and technological gaps as part of an unprecedented modernization effort.
In the last few years, there has been a significant rise in the types and intensity of maritime threats that Pakistan is facing. The Indian Navy’s highly ambitious build-up in maritime capability that Pakistan cannot afford to overlook. Briefly, the Indian Navy plans to have a force level of 200 ships– an increase of 50 ships by 2027.
This has led Pakistan to undertake measures to ensure its maritime security including coastal security and freedom of navigation.
Here Are Details About Pakistan Navy Modernization Programs:
1) Expanding the Navy to more than 50 warships (more than doubling major surface combatants to 20, with plans for six additional large offshore patrol vessels).
2) The apparent free transfer of a Chinese Yuan-class submarine to train Pakistani crews for its eight Hangor subs.
3) Developing the hypersonic P282 ship-launched anti-ship/land-attack ballistic missile.
4) Establishing the Naval Research and Development Institute to nurture indigenous design talent (it is presently engaged in programs such as the Jinnah-class frigate, Hangor-class subs, UAV jammers, directed-energy weapons, underwater sonar surveillance coastal defense systems, unmanned underwater vehicles, and unmanned combat aerial vehicles).
5) Replacing of the P-3C Orion patrol aircraft with 10 converted commercial jets, the first of which has been ordered.
6) Acquiring medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as 20 indigenous gunboats, which are to be commissioned by 2025.
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Pakistan is increasingly relying on China and Turkey as the major suppliers of these systems. A contract for four frigates from China and four medium-class ships from Turkey has been signed. The contracts envisage Pakistan also building its indigenous repair, rebuild, and manufacturing capability in close cooperation and partnership with these countries. This aspect of technology transfer was not easily accessible during the procurement of naval vessels from Western sources.
Beijing has also transferred a Chinese Yuan-class submarine to train Pakistani crews for its Hangor submarines. The building of these submarines would pose a great challenge as it involves sophisticated technology and intricate industrial processes.
There are also reports that Pakistan is importing unmanned combat aerial vehicles from China. This would be another very useful addition in the Navy’s inventory.
The Navy’s modernization will facilitate its second-strike capability, as chances of survivability of the naval force would increase. Pakistan Navy is planning to increase its frigate fleet by 50 percent and the submarine by nearly doubling it.
Clearly, the Pakistan Navy Modernization Programs once realized will provide a significant boost to Pakistan’s maritime capabilities