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Type 054A Frigates: How They Factor in for Pakistan Navy
by Samran Ali....

China’s Hudong Zhonghua has launched the first Type 054A Frigate for Pakistan Navy (PN) on August 23, 2020. After systems and weapons integration and tests, it will be handed over to PN by March 2021. Pakistan will get a total of four ships of this type and the remaining three ships will be sent by the end of 2020. The induction of these ships will add to the PN capability for meeting the present challenges in the Indian Ocean Region. However, these four ships will neither alter the strategic balance vis-à-vis India nor they will introduce new technologies in the region. They are only part of Pakistan’s moderate efforts to catch up with, and maintain a reasonable fleet in the face of continued modernization of Indian naval surface fleet ships. The balance of power remains in India’s favour and will tip even more in the future when India gets more ships like the Nilgiri and Talwar classes of frigates.

Nonetheless, their induction to the PN will make them the most advanced and sophisticated ships of the fleet. Their introduction would thereby enhance both the offensive and defensive power of the PN. The sophistication and advanced nature of the ship can be judged by the fact that these ships are the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) who operates 30 such ships.
However, these four ships will neither alter the strategic balance vis-à-vis India nor they will introduce new technologies in the region.
Currently, Pakistan has nine operational frigates of different types with varied capabilities. Four of them, F-22P ships, have FM-90N surface to air missiles (SAMs) and two Tariq class ships have LY-60N SAM system. Few of them carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShM) and others carry subsonic C-802A AShMs. Other patrol boats and patrol crafts, i.e. Jalalat and Azmat class respectively, are also heavily armed with anti-ship cruise missiles like C-802A and C-602. Patrol boats and crafts have limitations when it comes to the range and variety of systems they can carry.

Capabilities of Type 054A
Induction of Type 054A ships will increase the number of total large ships available to PN up to 13. With over 4100 tons of displacement, Type PN fleet. The ships have low radar cross-section (RCS) design which decreases the chances of the ship’s detectability. These ships can carry out all types of operations such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface, and anti-air operations. These will be equipped with an H/PJ-26 76mm main gun, 32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles (SAMs), two Type 730 30mm Close in Weapons System (CIWS), and two Triple Torpedo launchers. LY-80N medium-range surface-to-air missile will be an up-gradation to the LY-60N missile system. LY-80N has a range of 40km. There is also an upgraded version with a 70km range, but it is not certain which version is Pakistan getting.
Their induction to the PN will make them the most advanced and sophisticated ships of the fleet.
The armament package of Type 054A ships is not public yet. However, it may carry locally developed Harbah cruise missiles. PN is also developing an indigenous supersonic cruise missile which in the future can be deployed on these ships while considering the compatibility issues.

Relative disparity between Indian and Pakistani naval ships

As Pakistan’s defence procurements are primarily aimed to counter the Indian capabilities, it is important to compare these capabilities with that of India. India operates a larger number of ships which also have capabilities similar or advanced to the Type 054A ships. India currently operates 13 frigates of different types. It has Barak-1, Barak-8, Shtil, and Volnya surface to air missile systems, and its anti-ship missiles range from 3M24E, 3M54TE to the Brahmos supersonic missile.

In addition to frigate ships, India also has 13 destroyers which are heavier ships than frigates, can carry more weapons and have great endurance. Pakistan as a reference has no destroyers, as frigates are the largest ships it operates.

Considering the current fleet of major surface ships and not factoring in smaller ships, submarines, and naval aviation, India both have the numbers, in terms of a large fleet of destroyers and frigates, and technology in terms of Brahmos anti-ship cruise missile and the Israeli made Barak- 8 SAMs.

Besides the greater number of ships that the Indian Navy (IN) operates, it has a major advantage over Pakistan in supersonic cruise missile capability. The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile can strike its target faster with precision than the subsonic missiles that the PN operates.

Presently, there is little to no defence against supersonic cruise missiles. Pakistan can get a similar capability in the future to off-set the Indian Brahmos advantage. It may be the Chinese CM-302 supersonic cruising missile in the near term or locally developed future cruise missile of the PN. However, there is no timeline given of the PN’s supersonic cruise missile development plans. Therefore, an off-the-shelf capability or a joint venture might be one of the options.

The possible future composition of Pakistan Navy
Pakistan does not want to maintain a regional naval force. Its areas of operations, therefore, are limited to the Arabian seas and near waters. For the same reason, in the past, it has not acquired destroyers and focused on the acquisition of smaller ships in reasonable numbers suiting its defence needs. This may, however, change in the future due to an increase in maritime activity and continued modernization of the IN.

Considering the overall gap in numbers and technology, Pakistan may be interested in getting more ships to maintain a reasonable force ratio against the IN. The second option may be, developing another class of frigates in a joint venture with another country. PN is already working on the design of the first Jinnah Class frigate along with the acquisition of four MILGEM Class ships with Turkey’s Military Factory and Shipyard Corporation (ASFAT A.Ş.).

The outgoing naval chief, Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, in his farewell address outlined the future modernization plan of the PN. He envisioned a fleet of 20 large vessels for the navy, among other plans. Among the 20 ships six maybe destroyers.

Moreover, Type 054A would gradually replace the older ships like the Type 021 class ships which were acquired during the 1990s from the United Kingdom. While the Type 054A four ships are a good addition to PN capabilities, the induction of more ships will be critical to maintaining a survivable force in case of a long war against the adversary and the continued modernization of the IN. The leadership of the PN seems aware of this shortcoming.
This article was published in the Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) on October 21, 2020.


Samran Ali

 

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Type 054A Frigates: How They Factor in for Pakistan Navy
by Samran Ali....

China’s Hudong Zhonghua has launched the first Type 054A Frigate for Pakistan Navy (PN) on August 23, 2020. After systems and weapons integration and tests, it will be handed over to PN by March 2021. Pakistan will get a total of four ships of this type and the remaining three ships will be sent by the end of 2020. The induction of these ships will add to the PN capability for meeting the present challenges in the Indian Ocean Region. However, these four ships will neither alter the strategic balance vis-à-vis India nor they will introduce new technologies in the region. They are only part of Pakistan’s moderate efforts to catch up with, and maintain a reasonable fleet in the face of continued modernization of Indian naval surface fleet ships. The balance of power remains in India’s favour and will tip even more in the future when India gets more ships like the Nilgiri and Talwar classes of frigates.

Nonetheless, their induction to the PN will make them the most advanced and sophisticated ships of the fleet. Their introduction would thereby enhance both the offensive and defensive power of the PN. The sophistication and advanced nature of the ship can be judged by the fact that these ships are the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) who operates 30 such ships.

Currently, Pakistan has nine operational frigates of different types with varied capabilities. Four of them, F-22P ships, have FM-90N surface to air missiles (SAMs) and two Tariq class ships have LY-60N SAM system. Few of them carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShM) and others carry subsonic C-802A AShMs. Other patrol boats and patrol crafts, i.e. Jalalat and Azmat class respectively, are also heavily armed with anti-ship cruise missiles like C-802A and C-602. Patrol boats and crafts have limitations when it comes to the range and variety of systems they can carry.

Capabilities of Type 054A
Induction of Type 054A ships will increase the number of total large ships available to PN up to 13. With over 4100 tons of displacement, Type PN fleet. The ships have low radar cross-section (RCS) design which decreases the chances of the ship’s detectability. These ships can carry out all types of operations such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface, and anti-air operations. These will be equipped with an H/PJ-26 76mm main gun, 32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles (SAMs), two Type 730 30mm Close in Weapons System (CIWS), and two Triple Torpedo launchers. LY-80N medium-range surface-to-air missile will be an up-gradation to the LY-60N missile system. LY-80N has a range of 40km. There is also an upgraded version with a 70km range, but it is not certain which version is Pakistan getting.

The armament package of Type 054A ships is not public yet. However, it may carry locally developed Harbah cruise missiles. PN is also developing an indigenous supersonic cruise missile which in the future can be deployed on these ships while considering the compatibility issues.

Relative disparity between Indian and Pakistani naval ships

As Pakistan’s defence procurements are primarily aimed to counter the Indian capabilities, it is important to compare these capabilities with that of India. India operates a larger number of ships which also have capabilities similar or advanced to the Type 054A ships. India currently operates 13 frigates of different types. It has Barak-1, Barak-8, Shtil, and Volnya surface to air missile systems, and its anti-ship missiles range from 3M24E, 3M54TE to the Brahmos supersonic missile.

In addition to frigate ships, India also has 13 destroyers which are heavier ships than frigates, can carry more weapons and have great endurance. Pakistan as a reference has no destroyers, as frigates are the largest ships it operates.

Considering the current fleet of major surface ships and not factoring in smaller ships, submarines, and naval aviation, India both have the numbers, in terms of a large fleet of destroyers and frigates, and technology in terms of Brahmos anti-ship cruise missile and the Israeli made Barak- 8 SAMs.

Besides the greater number of ships that the Indian Navy (IN) operates, it has a major advantage over Pakistan in supersonic cruise missile capability. The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile can strike its target faster with precision than the subsonic missiles that the PN operates.

Presently, there is little to no defence against supersonic cruise missiles. Pakistan can get a similar capability in the future to off-set the Indian Brahmos advantage. It may be the Chinese CM-302 supersonic cruising missile in the near term or locally developed future cruise missile of the PN. However, there is no timeline given of the PN’s supersonic cruise missile development plans. Therefore, an off-the-shelf capability or a joint venture might be one of the options.

The possible future composition of Pakistan Navy
Pakistan does not want to maintain a regional naval force. Its areas of operations, therefore, are limited to the Arabian seas and near waters. For the same reason, in the past, it has not acquired destroyers and focused on the acquisition of smaller ships in reasonable numbers suiting its defence needs. This may, however, change in the future due to an increase in maritime activity and continued modernization of the IN.

Considering the overall gap in numbers and technology, Pakistan may be interested in getting more ships to maintain a reasonable force ratio against the IN. The second option may be, developing another class of frigates in a joint venture with another country. PN is already working on the design of the first Jinnah Class frigate along with the acquisition of four MILGEM Class ships with Turkey’s Military Factory and Shipyard Corporation (ASFAT A.Ş.).

The outgoing naval chief, Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, in his farewell address outlined the future modernization plan of the PN. He envisioned a fleet of 20 large vessels for the navy, among other plans. Among the 20 ships six maybe destroyers.

Moreover, Type 054A would gradually replace the older ships like the Type 021 class ships which were acquired during the 1990s from the United Kingdom. While the Type 054A four ships are a good addition to PN capabilities, the induction of more ships will be critical to maintaining a survivable force in case of a long war against the adversary and the continued modernization of the IN. The leadership of the PN seems aware of this shortcoming.
This article was published in the Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) on October 21, 2020.


Samran Ali

Destoryers are much need in PN, current fleet is not fit for power projection. I am surprised they have not approached China for Type 52D. A few of those and you have a fleet that can throw a good punch.
 

Adnan ash

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The best capability these ships have is fleet air defense rather than point defense. further, in current warfare numbers don't matter the most important parameter is having better situational awareness and network-centric capabilty.....
 

EGalois

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The best capability these ships have is fleet air defense rather than point defense. further, in current warfare numbers don't matter the most important parameter is having better situational awareness and network-centric capabilty.....
It can also carry anti-ship missiles. This ship is a milestone for Pak Navy because it can serve as a multi-role platform. Pak Navy should train its best cadets on ships like this so in the future when you have bigger ships you will be able to man those ships much more quickly.
 

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Type 054A Frigates: How They Factor in for Pakistan Navy
by Samran Ali....

China’s Hudong Zhonghua has launched the first Type 054A Frigate for Pakistan Navy (PN) on August 23, 2020. After systems and weapons integration and tests, it will be handed over to PN by March 2021. Pakistan will get a total of four ships of this type and the remaining three ships will be sent by the end of 2020. The induction of these ships will add to the PN capability for meeting the present challenges in the Indian Ocean Region. However, these four ships will neither alter the strategic balance vis-à-vis India nor they will introduce new technologies in the region. They are only part of Pakistan’s moderate efforts to catch up with, and maintain a reasonable fleet in the face of continued modernization of Indian naval surface fleet ships. The balance of power remains in India’s favour and will tip even more in the future when India gets more ships like the Nilgiri and Talwar classes of frigates.

Nonetheless, their induction to the PN will make them the most advanced and sophisticated ships of the fleet. Their introduction would thereby enhance both the offensive and defensive power of the PN. The sophistication and advanced nature of the ship can be judged by the fact that these ships are the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) who operates 30 such ships.

Currently, Pakistan has nine operational frigates of different types with varied capabilities. Four of them, F-22P ships, have FM-90N surface to air missiles (SAMs) and two Tariq class ships have LY-60N SAM system. Few of them carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShM) and others carry subsonic C-802A AShMs. Other patrol boats and patrol crafts, i.e. Jalalat and Azmat class respectively, are also heavily armed with anti-ship cruise missiles like C-802A and C-602. Patrol boats and crafts have limitations when it comes to the range and variety of systems they can carry.

Capabilities of Type 054A
Induction of Type 054A ships will increase the number of total large ships available to PN up to 13. With over 4100 tons of displacement, Type PN fleet. The ships have low radar cross-section (RCS) design which decreases the chances of the ship’s detectability. These ships can carry out all types of operations such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface, and anti-air operations. These will be equipped with an H/PJ-26 76mm main gun, 32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles (SAMs), two Type 730 30mm Close in Weapons System (CIWS), and two Triple Torpedo launchers. LY-80N medium-range surface-to-air missile will be an up-gradation to the LY-60N missile system. LY-80N has a range of 40km. There is also an upgraded version with a 70km range, but it is not certain which version is Pakistan getting.

The armament package of Type 054A ships is not public yet. However, it may carry locally developed Harbah cruise missiles. PN is also developing an indigenous supersonic cruise missile which in the future can be deployed on these ships while considering the compatibility issues.

Relative disparity between Indian and Pakistani naval ships

As Pakistan’s defence procurements are primarily aimed to counter the Indian capabilities, it is important to compare these capabilities with that of India. India operates a larger number of ships which also have capabilities similar or advanced to the Type 054A ships. India currently operates 13 frigates of different types. It has Barak-1, Barak-8, Shtil, and Volnya surface to air missile systems, and its anti-ship missiles range from 3M24E, 3M54TE to the Brahmos supersonic missile.

In addition to frigate ships, India also has 13 destroyers which are heavier ships than frigates, can carry more weapons and have great endurance. Pakistan as a reference has no destroyers, as frigates are the largest ships it operates.

Considering the current fleet of major surface ships and not factoring in smaller ships, submarines, and naval aviation, India both have the numbers, in terms of a large fleet of destroyers and frigates, and technology in terms of Brahmos anti-ship cruise missile and the Israeli made Barak- 8 SAMs.

Besides the greater number of ships that the Indian Navy (IN) operates, it has a major advantage over Pakistan in supersonic cruise missile capability. The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile can strike its target faster with precision than the subsonic missiles that the PN operates.

Presently, there is little to no defence against supersonic cruise missiles. Pakistan can get a similar capability in the future to off-set the Indian Brahmos advantage. It may be the Chinese CM-302 supersonic cruising missile in the near term or locally developed future cruise missile of the PN. However, there is no timeline given of the PN’s supersonic cruise missile development plans. Therefore, an off-the-shelf capability or a joint venture might be one of the options.

The possible future composition of Pakistan Navy
Pakistan does not want to maintain a regional naval force. Its areas of operations, therefore, are limited to the Arabian seas and near waters. For the same reason, in the past, it has not acquired destroyers and focused on the acquisition of smaller ships in reasonable numbers suiting its defence needs. This may, however, change in the future due to an increase in maritime activity and continued modernization of the IN.

Considering the overall gap in numbers and technology, Pakistan may be interested in getting more ships to maintain a reasonable force ratio against the IN. The second option may be, developing another class of frigates in a joint venture with another country. PN is already working on the design of the first Jinnah Class frigate along with the acquisition of four MILGEM Class ships with Turkey’s Military Factory and Shipyard Corporation (ASFAT A.Ş.).

The outgoing naval chief, Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, in his farewell address outlined the future modernization plan of the PN. He envisioned a fleet of 20 large vessels for the navy, among other plans. Among the 20 ships six maybe destroyers.

Moreover, Type 054A would gradually replace the older ships like the Type 021 class ships which were acquired during the 1990s from the United Kingdom. While the Type 054A four ships are a good addition to PN capabilities, the induction of more ships will be critical to maintaining a survivable force in case of a long war against the adversary and the continued modernization of the IN. The leadership of the PN seems aware of this shortcoming.
This article was published in the Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) on October 21, 2020.


Samran Ali

There are a fair few knowledge gaps in this article;
Missed armament launchers which fire anti-ship missile on the Type54a.
Missed that Pakistan already operates a supersonic anti-ship missile (YJ12) which will also be part of the Type54A package.
Missed the general premise that Pakistan isn't and can't match the Indian navy ship for ship, and seeks to stop a blockade and protect it's waters, a job easier due to the smaller water mass to be covered. India suffers the same with China i.e. can't hope to match China in size and advancements.
Pakistan's next project will be the Jinnah class frigates (he got that right), but there are no plans for destroyers. The initial upfront don't, runnings costs and massive crew compliments are beyond the scope of the navy right now. It's building it's inventory slowly.
 

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There are a fair few knowledge gaps in this article;
Missed armament launchers which fire anti-ship missile on the Type54a.
Missed that Pakistan already operates a supersonic anti-ship missile (YJ12) which will also be part of the Type54A package.
Missed the general premise that Pakistan isn't and can't match the Indian navy ship for ship, and seeks to stop a blockade and protect it's waters, a job easier due to the smaller water mass to be covered. India suffers the same with China i.e. can't hope to match China in size and advancements.
Pakistan's next project will be the Jinnah class frigates (he got that right), but there are no plans for destroyers. The initial upfront don't, runnings costs and massive crew compliments are beyond the scope of the navy right now. It's building it's inventory slowly.
In a new conventional Indo-Pak war, the decisive scene of battle would still be along the LOC and E/W Punjab border. Anyone who has air superiority and is able to use it to destroy the other's armored forces would be able to win the war.
Navies would only play a side role. Pak Navy just needs to prevent a blockade of Karachi and Gwadar.
 

Imran Khan

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there are so many new technologies on them in these waters . new sams /new missiles/ longer range sensors and radars .
 

Tipu7

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Destoryers are much need in PN, current fleet is not fit for power projection. I am surprised they have not approached China for Type 52D. A few of those and you have a fleet that can throw a good punch.
PN primary strategy is based upon area denial. Power projection via heavy surface vessels is not feasible as per our current posture.
PN will first rectify obsolete fleet, then it will work on fleet expansion, and then shift in doctrinal posture will take place.
Destroyers along with Dedicated heavy fleet of Naval J16 will change the balance in Indian ocean.
How? Is J16 even suitable for our requirements? Or, is it really as good bird as is claimed on paper?
How come 'few destroyers & J16' will 'shift the power balance' against a force which will be operating two Carriers, 20 destroyer size vessels, 13 Frigates, dozens of corvettes, 20+ Subs and Two dozen P8I?
 

mqur1963

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the punch is nukes there is no conventional war if waar goes over month it will transfer to nukes
 

Zarvan

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PN primary strategy is based upon area denial. Power projection via heavy surface vessels is not feasible as per our current posture.
PN will first rectify obsolete fleet, then it will work on fleet expansion, and then shift in doctrinal posture will take place.

How? Is J16 even suitable for our requirements? Or, is it really as good bird as is claimed on paper?
How come 'few destroyers & J16' will 'shift the power balance' against a force which will be operating two Carriers, 20 destroyer size vessels, 13 Frigates, dozens of corvettes, 20+ Subs and Two dozen P8I?
They won't shift the balance, they would resume the balance. We don't need Aircraft carriers. But we need destroyers and lots of them. In fact my hope is that the 20 major vessels which former naval chief mentioned turn out to be only destroyers. 20 destroyers and 30 heavy frigates and corvettes will resume the balance which we have lost due to massive growth of Indian Navy. As for J-16 well you need a slightly bigger jet for Naval strike role it could be either J-16 or some other jet. 3 squadrons of them will do the job fine.
 

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They won't shift the balance, they would resume the balance. We don't need Aircraft carriers. But we need destroyers and lots of them. In fact my hope is that the 20 major vessels which former naval chief mentioned turn out to be only destroyers. 20 destroyers and 30 heavy frigates and corvettes will resume the balance which we have lost due to massive growth of Indian Navy. As for J-16 well you need a slightly bigger jet for Naval strike role it could be either J-16 or some other jet. 3 squadrons of them will do the job fine.
To acquire and manage a fleet of 20 destroyers and 30 heavy frigates, Pakistani Navy Alone would need a budget which will be 1.5 to 2 times current Pakistani defence budget. Good luck with that
 

Aamir Hussain

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In a new conventional Indo-Pak war, the decisive scene of battle would still be along the LOC and E/W Punjab border. Anyone who has air superiority and is able to use it to destroy the other's armored forces would be able to win the war.
Navies would only play a side role. Pak Navy just needs to prevent a blockade of Karachi and Gwadar.
The decisive thrusts would be towards cutting off Hyderabad and down from rest of Pakistan and thrust towards Bahawalpur!. Fought two wars in Punjab, nothing came out of it for both sides.
 

Invicta

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PN primary strategy is based upon area denial. Power projection via heavy surface vessels is not feasible as per our current posture.
PN will first rectify obsolete fleet, then it will work on fleet expansion, and then shift in doctrinal posture will take place.

How? Is J16 even suitable for our requirements? Or, is it really as good bird as is claimed on paper?
How come 'few destroyers & J16' will 'shift the power balance' against a force which will be operating two Carriers, 20 destroyer size vessels, 13 Frigates, dozens of corvettes, 20+ Subs and Two dozen P8I?
I think fleet expansion and doctrinal change should go hand in hand, you cannot have true shift by only focusing on one part. Which is why its surprising that no effort for a destroyer has been made. Also timelines are crucial as well. PN needs a couple destroyers to at least get experience on operation and mission execution.
 

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