In its quest for a wartime-capable surface fleet, the Pakistan Navy has signed an agreement for two more Type 054A Jiangkai II-class guided missile frigates with Chinese shipbuilder China Shipbuilding Trading Co Ltd. (CSTC), the service announced on social media on June 1.
The contract was signed at the Ministry of Defense Production in Rawalpindi, in a ceremony attended by the country’s Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations), Rear Admiral Faisal Rasul Lodhi and other high-ranking officials and dignitaries from both China and Pakistan.
“With the conclusion of this contract, Pakistan Navy will have a total of four Type 054A ships in its fleet by 2021,” the Navy said in the announcement. “The induction of these ships will substantially enhance Pakistan Navy’s war fighting capabilities while effectively contributing towards maritime security operations in the region.”
The Pakistan Navy has previously signed a contract for two Type 054A warships in 2017. While neither CSTC nor the Navy disclosed the per-unit price of the warship, according to a cost estimate published in The Diplomat, the price of a Type 054A guided-missile frigate is estimated at around $348 million.
It is also unclear whether the warships will be used for anti-submarine warfare operations and fitted with variable depth and towed array sonars. As I reported previously, Type 054 guided-missile frigate are multipurpose warships capable of conducting a wide range of missions including anti-surface and anti-air warfare. In January, I described the technical characteristics and armament of the 4,000-ton Type 054A warship:
The stealth frigate is armed with HQ-16 medium range air defense missiles and boosts a 32-cell vertical launching system (VLS) in the forward section, capable of firing anti-ship and air defense missiles as well as anti-submarine torpedoes. It also features a Russian-made AK-630 fully automatic naval close in weapon system and a Chinese variant of the AK-176 76-millimeter naval gun.
(…) In addition, the ship is equipped with a Type 382 phased-array radar system and Type 344 and Type 345 multifunctional fire control radar systems, capable of over the horizon targeting.
Type 054A frigates also feature a hangar capable of accommodation Kamov K-27 and Harbin Z-9 helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). (…) The ship has a standard range of about 3,800 nautical miles—7,037 kilometers–at a speed of 18 knots, and a maximum un-refueled radius is 12,000 kilometers or 8,000 miles.
As of May 2018, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has inducted a total of 29 Type 054A frigates. China dispatched three warships including a Type 054A frigate for a goodwill and training visit to Pakistan last June. Type 054A guided-missile frigates are seen as an intermediary design with CSTC already working on an improved 5,000-ton variant, the Type 054B or Jiangkai III-class guided-missile frigate, expected to be commissioned in 2018.