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F-22P Frigate inducted in PN

The Pakistan Navy launched the 4th F-22P Frigate (Designate PNS ASLAT) on Thursday at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Naval Staff was the chief guest at the launching ceremony. The F-22P Frigates have been evolved from the design of a Chinese Frigate with modifications and customisation to meet Pakistan Navy's requirement.

F-22P project while contributing significantly to maritime defence of the country, has also added a new dimension to Pak-China collaboration in defence. The induction of F-22P Frigates has considerably augmented existing surface fleet. These ships are capable of operating independently or as part of a task force in multi threat environments. These are equipped with state of the art weapons and sensors for anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air operations with comprehensive self-defence capabilities. Ships are also embarked with organic helicopters to conduct dedicated anti-submarine operations thus enhancing the operational range of these ships.

The spokesman of Pak Naval Headquarters issued a statement. It has been stated that acknowledging the efforts of Pakistani and Chinese engineers and technicians for construction of F-22P Frigate at Karachi Shipyard, Admiral Noman congratulated China State Shipbuilding Company (CSSC), China Shipbuilding and Trading Company (CSTC), Hudong Zhongua and Karachi Shipyards for launching the ship as per schedule and remarked that the occasion is yet another example of unparalleled Pak-China relations which are founded on strong mooring.

In his address, chief guest emphasised that launching of the warship being an important milestone has not only further strengthened the relations with Chinese but added colour and eminence to celebrations for 60 years of resounding friendship between Pakistan and China.

The Naval Chief appreciated the turnaround of Karachi Shipyard that enabled it to meet challenges of constructing warships and attributed the success to sound planning of KS&EW management and untiring efforts of its workforce. The chief guest also urged Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) to continue supporting KS&EW on their road to progress.

Admiral Noman emphasised on building a strong Navy capable of defending maritime interests of the country. He reiterated that Pakistan navy did not possess aggressive designs but our sea trade routes, vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and international energy lines that pass very close to our coast need to be protected which is not only in the interest of our country but of the entire international community. Therefore, Pakistan Navy will continue to endeavour to maintain peace and stability in our area of responsibility.

Named as PNS ASLAT, the ship is 4th of its series of F-22P ships. The design and construction of these ships started in year 2005 after signing of contract between MoDP and China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC). Under the contract, three ships were constructed at Hudong Zhongua Shipyard, China, while 4th ship is being constructed at KS&EW under the Transfer of Technology arrangement.

In this regard, infrastructure at KS&EW has been upgraded and HR has been trained in China and Pakistan to undertake the construction work. First three ships have already been timely delivered to Pakistan Navy while the last ship launched today will be delivered as per schedule. Experience gained during construction of the fourth ship at KS&EW will augment capabilities of Karachi Shipyard to reinforce its survivability and meet future challenges in warships construction projects.

Launching ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from Federal and Provincial Governments, Pakistan Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies, senior management of CSSC/CSTC, Hudong Shipyard and other distinguished guests from the corporate sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2011