• Thursday, July 9, 2020

Mystery Submarine In Service With Pakistan’s Navy SEALs

Discussion in 'Pakistan Navy' started by HAIDER, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. HAIDER

    HAIDER ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    22,375
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Ratings:
    +14 / 21,356 / -1
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    H I SuttonContributor
    Aerospace & Defense
    I cover the changing world of underwater warfare.


    Some of the best-kept secrets are hidden in plain sight. Sitting on the quayside at PNS Iqbal, a special naval base in Karachi, Pakistan, is a submarine that you won’t find in any reference books, including my own World Submarines Covert Shores Recognition Guide. To my knowledge this will be the first article detailing this submarine, which appears to be in service with Pakistani Navy SEALs.

    [​IMG]
    Artist's impression of the new Pakistan Navy submarine. The image is based on analysis of satellite ... [+]

    H I SUTTON
    The submarine is a small special forces type, measuring around 55 feet long by 7 to 8 feet across. That is a fraction of the size of a regular submarine. Its location and size both point to use by the Pakistani Navy's Special Service Group, known as SSG (N). They are equivalent to the U.S. Navy SEALs and use the 'SEAL' terminology. They have a long tradition of training with the American unit.

    This category of submarine is called an X-Craft in Pakistani Navy parlance. The term was inherited from the Italian manufacturer Cos.Mo.S (commonly written Cosmos) who sold Pakistan two sets of midget submarines in the past. The Italian firm itself borrowed the term from the Royal Navy midget submarines of World War II. The American equivalent to the X-Craft is the Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) now entering service with the U.S. Navy SEALs.

    It may be intended to replace the Pakistani Navy's existing X-Craft. Pakistan operates three MG-110 X-Craft which were built locally between 1993 and 1996. They are getting long in the tooth and are due for replacement. But the Italian firm which designed them, Cos.Mo.S was closed down twenty years ago. Today its designs are continued by respected Italian manufacturer Drass. They offer a series of modern X-Craft that may be ideal for Pakistan.
    But this mystery submarine does not appear to be a Drass design. The smallest publicly revealed Drass design is the DG-85, which is slightly larger than the boat seen in Pakistan.

    One clue is that the boat first appeared in 2016. This may tie to a statement in the Pakistani Defence Production Division (MoDP) 2015-16 yearbook. It listed the "Indigenous design and construction of 01 Midget Submarine" as a target for 2016-2017.
    Since then there have been reports that Turkish firm STM (Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş.) was jointly developing a mini-submarine with Pakistan. This could indicate that the mystery craft was not successful and so a new design is being developed. Another possibility is that the Turkish partnership will focus on smaller 'chariots.' These are similar to the U.S. Navy's SDVs (SEAL delivery vehicles). In the Pakistani Navy the Chariots can be carried by the larger X-Craft.

    Analysis of commercial satellite imagery shows that the boat rarely (if ever) goes in the water. The only clear image showing it in the water is from 2016. The operational status is therefore unclear. The tent that covers it is often moved, however, suggesting ongoing maintenance. So the sub cannot be written off, but what it's called and what exactly it does remains a mystery.



    [​IMG]
    H I Sutton
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  2. AMRAAM

    AMRAAM FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Ratings:
    +0 / 661 / -1
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Seeing a 3rd thread on this same news.
     
  3. Octopod

    Octopod BANNED

    New Recruit

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2019
    Ratings:
    +0 / 27 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States
    Pakistan’s submarine force is undergoing major modernization. In the last five years, Pakistan has inked two major submarine deals with China and Turkey to upgrade its submarine force.

    In 2015, Pakistan approved the purchase of eight Hangor (Type 042 Yuan-class) submarines with a provision to construct four at Karachi Shipyard with a possible Transfer of Technology (ToT) from China.
    [​IMG]
    Subsequently, in 2016, Pakistan awarded the Agosta 90B Submarine Modernization Project worth $350 million to Turkey-based weapon manufacturer STM. Interestingly, this was the first time Pakistan has selected a Turkish company as the prime contractor for a submarine project. Under this project, STM will be exporting design and engineering services to the Pakistan Navy.

    The submarine deals with China and Turkey are expected to be a major game changer for the Pakistan Navy. Along with that, Pakistan is now focusing on building new midget submarines for its Navy.

    Pakistan’s Special Service Group (Navy) has been using the Cosmos MG110 midget for overt and covert operations. These submarines have been in service from the early 1990s and are nearing the end of their service lives.

    In order to replace these aging submarines, Pakistan has proposed to build a new midget submarine. In the Ministry of Defense Production (MoDP) Year Book 2015–2016, Pakistan listed the development and construction of a midget submarine as a target for 2017–2018. The MoDP documents have also mentioned that midget submarine project will be based on indigenous design and production.

    Notably, a recent satellite image (Figure 1) confirms that Pakistan might have indigenously developed a new midget submarine as it proposed in the MoDP 2015–2016.

    From 2016 on, one can see the submarine partially covered in a tent in. Since 2019, the submarine can be seen in open view, suggesting that the construction is near completion and that sea trials may have commenced.

    The new midget submarine, which is compact in size, is leading to speculation regarding its possible role in the Arabian Sea and in combat.

    The midget submarine as seen from the satellite images has a length of around 55 feet (16.7 m) and a beam measurement of around 8 feet (2.43 m). The vessel’s displacement is currently unknown.

    The prominent vertical rudder, propeller, and the round-shaped nose are visible from the shadow of the midget submarine. The snorkel is not visible in the image. But it is clear from the image that the submarine appears to be larger than the Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) and slightly smaller than the MG110 midget submarines.

    The compact size of the submarine with simple hull constructions suggests that it is easy to operate and maintain. The vessel can likely be transported over land due to its size. The defense expert H. I. Sutton writes in Forbes that the submarine design is new and doesn’t appear to be an imported one.

    Given the present level of cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey, one cannot rule out the possibility of a Turkish firm’s involvement in the development of new midget submarines. In an interview in 2019, Murat İkinci, the general manager of STM, confirmed that the “Pakistan Navy and STM are currently discussing new projects, including serious and dedicated works for midget submarines.” However, there are no official sources to confirm that the new midget submarine has been codeveloped with Turkey.


    A Role for the Midget Submarine

    The Pakistan has been using new midget submarines for many years now. The development of a new midget submarine not only showcases its indigenous capability, but also shows that Pakistan is prepping its underwater warfare capability.

    As Pakistan continues to lay emphasis on a sea denial strategy there is a possibility that it may use the midget submarine in an offensive role during any conflict with India in the coming months and years.

    The seaward defense of Karachi has been one of the major challenges for the Pakistan Navy since the 1971 war with India. The midget submarine would fill a gap in protecting Karachi Port from sea-based attack. Most importantly, it would replace the current MG110s in service with the SSG (Navy) for operations such as frogmen operations, laying mines, and so on.

    Also, with the Agosta 90B submarines undergoing midlife upgrades and modernization, scheduled to join the Pakistan Navy in 2020, and first four Hangor submarines stated to be delivered in 2023, the Pakistan Navy would find a significant increase in its ability to execute an anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) posture in the Indian Ocean. Along with that, the new midget submarine would upgrade Pakistan’s underwater warfare capabilities in a significant way.

    In short, the changeover in the Pakistan submarine force could pose a real security threat to India in the Arabian Sea. Given India’s preparedness to develop a credible anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, Pakistan’s new midget submarine can challenge India’s maritime operations in the Arabian Sea.

    Besides, Pakistan might use the new midget submarine to expand its clandestine operations off the western Coast of India, particularly around Gujarat’s Sir Creek area and Mumbai.

    Hence, it’s essential that India strengthen its subsurface detection and track capability to thwart any Pakistan anti-access capability in the Arabian Sea and to protect India’s maritime security interests in the region.

    Prakash Panneerselvam, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Benagluru, India.

    https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/pak...erging-challenge-to-india-in-the-arabian-sea/
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 8
  4. Hakikat ve Hikmet

    Hakikat ve Hikmet ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    10,227
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Ratings:
    +13 / 23,075 / -1
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    Turkey is developing AI/Deep-ML based fully autonomous Aksungur MALE UAVs (40hrs flight at 40K feet) for anti-submarine ops with 100% indigenous components including engine, radars, optics, EW, torpedoes etc. (see the 2nd and 3rd pictures). Communications to the High Command are via micro-sat based secured links. Greece operates a large fleet of submarines. Might be an interesting addition for PN...

    *PN detected a couple of IN subs during 02-26/27 mayhem, and they put their aircraft carrier 7K miles away. If PN sinks a couple of subs IN would be like IAF of 02-27....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
    • Thanks Thanks x 21
  5. Bilal Khan (Quwa)

    Bilal Khan (Quwa) SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,369
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2016
    Ratings:
    +33 / 14,190 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Canada
    It's news in the sense that it seems the midget submarine program is proceeding, but I do hope the PN expands the scope to include a true ASW/AShW-capable SWAT submarine. The latter would be a much tougher program, but a low-cost in-house design (even with overseas inputs) would be an A2/AD boon.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 17
  6. Ali_Baba

    Ali_Baba FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    1,278
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Ratings:
    +1 / 1,664 / -0
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I do hope that the Submarine is mostly homegrown and is successful. It does set the template for Azm of what is possible if you make the right decisions and execute them.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 11
  7. Sine Nomine

    Sine Nomine ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    9,770
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Ratings:
    +26 / 12,162 / -8
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Don't you think we should go for sub like Iranian Fateh?
     
  8. Bilal Khan (Quwa)

    Bilal Khan (Quwa) SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,369
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2016
    Ratings:
    +33 / 14,190 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Canada
    Yep I agree, but PN has a little more access to overseas design expertise. So, it should come up with a more modern design than the Iranians.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 9
  9. AMRAAM

    AMRAAM FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Ratings:
    +0 / 661 / -1
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    So, India, even having such a large Naval force seems to be scared with this single Midget submarine. Is he going on another buying spree to counter the threat posed by this smaller submarine?
     
  10. Sine Nomine

    Sine Nomine ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    9,770
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Ratings:
    +26 / 12,162 / -8
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Well i ain't asking for Fateh as piece of equipment but as a concept,a midweight submarine which can both insert SEAL Teams and perform duties as a sub.
    I have only seen one modern design fitting the bill that's HDS-500.
     
  11. DocEinstein

    DocEinstein FULL MEMBER

    New Recruit

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Ratings:
    +0 / 108 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    Those satellite images show an antique rusting midget submarine parked there.
    Nothing to see here, move on.
     
  12. Philosopher

    Philosopher SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    2,294
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2020
    Ratings:
    +11 / 4,961 / -0
    Country:
    Iran, Islamic Republic Of
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    "Midget" sized submarines are a very good option for our Pakistani friends. Iran has midget sized submarines called Ghadir, but I think something larger, like the new Iranian submarine called Fateh will suit Pakistan's needs nicely.

    Fateh submarine has a displacement of 600 tons, designed for the Persian Gulf and sea of Oman.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Next generation of these submarines will be a larger and utilise AIP.

    Fateh is "equipped with sonars, electric drive, combined battle management, surface-to-surface guided missile guidance, torpedo guidance, electronic and telecommunication warfare, secure and integrated telecommunication systems etc. Fateh submarine has speed of 11 knots (20.35 km/h) and is capable of travelling submerged at 14 knots (25.9 km/h). The submarine is armed with four 533-mm torpedoes. It can carry eight sea mines and two reserve torpedoes." The submarine can also fire cruise missiles. This submarine actually has 11 different sonar systems! For it's size, it is extremely well equipped sensor wise and packs a nasty bite!

    Some pics from inside:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I am not saying Pakistan needs to go for this specific Iranian submarine, but I think people generally write off smaller sized submarines and focus more on giant, nuclear powered systems. These smaller submarines are a nightmare even for the most advanced navies. A dozen or so of these submarines will give the enemies of Pakistan sleepless nights.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
    • Thanks Thanks x 18
  13. Octopod

    Octopod BANNED

    New Recruit

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2019
    Ratings:
    +0 / 27 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States
    Pak is not our only concern but also Chinese incursions into the IOR region. Also, India's coastline is huge and there aren't enough naval assets to guard it all. It's important we understand every addition of our adversary, be it big or small and formulate a counter action plan
     
  14. Bilal Khan (Quwa)

    Bilal Khan (Quwa) SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,369
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2016
    Ratings:
    +33 / 14,190 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Canada
    Yep we're on the same page.

    The PN had taken a look at DRASS' designs too.

    https://www.drass.tech/defence-solutions-drass/
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 6
  15. Hakikat ve Hikmet

    Hakikat ve Hikmet ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    10,227
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Ratings:
    +13 / 23,075 / -1
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    Pak should be extremely attentive to her Navy!! A country's security and her naval power are directly proportional...

    A very nice video in Turkish regarding the necessity of Turkey's naval power projection. The Ottoman Empire collapsed for the lack of the powerful navy in the later parts. Now that Turkey is at the least looking at her interests in Libya and the East Mediterranean is due to her using sea and air based assets in combination...

    Bottom line: no Navy, no sovereignty...

     
    • Thanks Thanks x 12