On behalf of the Pakistan government, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China attended the first Type 054 A/P frigate’s commissioning ceremony as the chief guest. The ceremony was also attended by high-level dignitaries from the Chinese defense industry and the PLA Navy.
PNS TUGHRIL is the first of four frigates of Type 054 A/P being built for the Pakistan Navy. She 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.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Pakistan Ambassador emphasized that the commissioning of PNS TUGHRIL marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Pak-China relationship, which has grown through the test of time and remained steady in all domains.
“Within the framework of the region’s broader security paradigm, TUGHRIL-class Frigates will boost Pakistan Navy’s capability to respond to maritime threats in order to secure seaward defense, peace, stability, and the balance of power in the Indian Ocean Region.”
Moin ul-Haq, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China
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.
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.
About Type 054A and Type 054 A/P
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.