Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday launched the welding of the third ship to be constructed for Pakistan Navy under the Milgem project, Turkish and Pakistani media reported.
Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey Mohammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi also accompanied Erdogan at the groundbreaking of the third out of a total of four Milgem Ada-class corvette for Pakistan Navy in Istanbul.
Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop, Minister of National Defence of Turkey Hulusi Akar, Chief of Turkish General Staff General Yasar Guler, Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Adnan Ozbal, and other dignitaries attended the ceremony that also marked the launching of I-class Turkish Navy ‘Istanbul’ frigate.
President Erdogan said both Pakistan and Turkey were living in difficult geographical regions and both countries were facing similar challenges. He affirmed that Turkey would continue to support friendly and allied countries in the defence field.
Referring to his visit to Pakistan last year, President Erdogan said the two countries signed a Strategic Economic Framework that would provide the necessary institutional framework to further enhance bilateral ties.
All Turkish dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony hailed the Pakistan-Turkish brotherly relations and reiterated Turkey’s support to Pakistan on core issues of its national interest.
The contract for four Milgem class corvettes for Pakistan Navy with concurrent Transfer of Technology (ToT) was signed with ASFAT Inc., a Turkish state-owned Defence contractor firm in 2018.
According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the other two will be built in Pakistan, at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) - Pakistan Navy’s specialised shipbuilding division - that also involves technology transfer.
Milgem vessels are 99 metres long with a displacement capacity of 2,400 tons and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles.
These anti-submarine combat frigates, which can be hidden from the radar, will further enhance the defence capability of the Pakistan Navy.
Turkey, boasting significant skills in submarine technology, will put into service six of its new submarines starting in 2022 with Piri Reis, Erdogan announced.
On the country’s progress on UAVs and drones, Erdogan said that Turkey is now also among the first three to four countries globally in terms of the production of unmanned and armed unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Turkey will take Gokdeniz, the naval version of Korkut low-altitude air defence system into the inventory for the first time with Istanbul frigate,” he said.
An aircraft carrier to be designed indigenously, following Anadolu Ship, will take Turkey to the top league in the field, Erdogan added.