Three important events took place at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard. The primary event was the launching of the third PN MILGEM corvette for the Pakistan Navy, the future PNS Khaibar (282). Following the ceremony, the keel of the first Hisar-class offshore patrol vessel, the future TCG Akhisar (P-1220), was laid and the first steel of the second OPV (P-1221 – TCG Kochisar) was cut.
The ceremony was attended by high-ranking representatives of both countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the chief guest at the ceremony, while Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sherif and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, as well as high-ranking officers of the two navies, were other guests VIP.
In his speech, President Erdogan highlighted Turkish-Pakistani relations in the field of defense industry in recent years. He also stated that Turkey will realize significant developments in the defense industry within the next year.
“2023 will hopefully be a year in which we will see many firsts in our defense industry. Our unmanned fighter jet KIZILELMA has reached the production line. Engine integration testing has been successfully completed. It will make its first flight in 2023. We will also see our national fighter aircraft (TF-X) come out of the hangar next year. We will make the first deliveries of our Siper long-range air defense system, Karaok anti-tank missile system, as well as Bozdogan and Gokdogan air-to-air missiles in 2023.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkiye
President Erdogan also remarked that the 4th corvette of the PN MILGEM project will be delivered to Pakistan in February 2025.
After the launching ceremony, the keel of the lead vessel of the Hisar-class OPV was laid, and the construction of the second OPV has officially begun.
In July 2018, a contract was signed between the Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) of Turkey and the Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production and Karachi Shipyard for the construction of four Milgem class vessels based on Turkish Ada-class design. Turkish defence minister at the time, Nurettin Canikli, described the deal as “the largest defense export of Turkey in one agreement.”
The contract entails the construction of two corvettes in Turkey and two at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). The contract has also provisions for the transfer of design rights and construction know-how from Turkey to Pakistan.
About PN MILGEM / Babur-class corvettes
PN MILGEM Program consists of 4 ships, 2 ships will be built in Istanbul Shipyard Command and 2 ships will be built in KSEW. The program started on 11 March 2019. The deliveries of the ships, which will be able to perform all kinds of military duties from air defense to submarine defense, are expected to be made at six-month intervals starting from August 2023.
The exact configuration of the Pakistan Milgem-class ships has not been made public yet. During the Aman Naval Exercise held in February 2019, Admiral Abbasi said that Pakistan ships will be fitted with a 16-Cell VLS behind the main gun. It is expected that the Babur-class corvettes will be armed with MBDA’s Albatros NG air defence system and Harbah Anti-ship and land attack missiles.
The propulsion system for all the MILGEM ships consist of one LM2500 gas turbine in a combined diesel and gas turbine configuration with two diesel engines; total propulsion power is 31,600 kilowatts.
Turkey’s Ada-class are multipurpose corvettes able to conduct a wide a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare.
- Displacement: 2,926 tonnes
- Length: 108.2 m
- Beam: 14.8 m
- Draft: 4.05 m
- Propulsion: CODAG
- Max speed: 31 knots
- Range: 3500 nautical miles
- Endurance: 15 days at sea
- Crew: 93+40