On January 24, the Pakistan Navy commissioned the first Type 054 A/P class frigate, PNS TUGHRIL, at the Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Karachi.
The commissioning ceremony was the second for Type 054A/P frigate PNG TUGHRIL (F-261). The first ceremony took place on 8 November at China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard as part of the frigate’s delivery.
The second ceremony drew a large crowd, including Pakistan’s President Dr. Arif Alvi, who participated as Chief Guest.
According to a statement posted on the Pakistan Navy’s social media accounts, President Alvi stressed the need of having a well-equipped fleet to protect sea borders in severe environmental conditions.
PNS TUGHRIL is the first of four frigates of Type 054 A/P being built for the Pakistan Navy. It was launched in August 2020, and the Chinese shipyard completed the process in just 14 months. The new frigate is named after “Tugrul the First,” one of the founders of the Seljuk Empire, which governed modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey between the 11th and 14th centuries. The Type 054A/P will be Pakistan Navy’s most capable warship to date.
Pakistan signed an initial contract for the delivery of two Type 054 A/P frigates in 2017. An additional contract for two more ships was announced in June 2018. According to the contract, all four ships are built in China and the first two are expected to be delivered to the customer by year-end.
During the occasion, the Pakistan Navy also welcomed ten second-hand Sea King helicopters acquired from Qatar.
The Pakistan Navy is currently undertaking an important renewal of its fleet, with the procurement of several modern platforms: In addition to these frigates from China, Pakistan will also commission new corvettes from Turkey and OPV from the Netherlands. It is also modernizing its submarine force. In 2016, Pakistan agreed to pay China $5 billion for the acquisition of eight Chinese Yuan-class type-041 diesel submarines by 2028 in order to shift the force balance with its archrival India.
The Type 054A is a multi-role frigate and is recognized as the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet of surface combatants with 30 vessels in commission. They have a length of 134 meters, a beam of 16 meters for a displacement of 4,000 tons. They have a crew complement of 165 sailors and are fitted with:
- a H/PJ-26 76mm main gun
- 2×4 CM302 anti-ship missiles
- 32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles
- 2x Type 730 30mm CIWS
- 2x Triple Torpedo launchers
In PLAN service, those frigates feature a Type 382 radar which shares a close resemblance with the Russian MR-710 Fregat radar. Unlike the Pakistan Navy variant - whose first ship-in-class is fitted with an SR2410C radar - the Type 054A in Chinese Navy service does not feature a long-range/metric wave radar.