Pakistani Navy makes the difference with the fourth corvette – Naval Warfare
CGI image of the Fourth Ada Class Corvette for the Pakistani Navy. (Photo: PN)
There are indications that the last corvette in a four-ship program for Pakistan includes an air defense missile change.
Construction of the final Ada-class (MILGEM) four corvettes for the Pakistani Navy (PN) is underway at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) – with one notable difference.
PN Chief of Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi attended the steel cutting ceremony of the last ship on June 15. He acknowledged the commitment and dedication of KS&EW and Turkish shipyard ASFAT for meeting a difficult schedule despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Interestingly, the last ceremony included different CGI images from the previous ones, alluding to a change in approach from the PN.
Earlier renderings showed these corvettes with the HHQ-16 / LY-80N air defense missile manufactured by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. This missile is derived from the Soviet-era Buk (SA-11 Horsefly) SAT.
The latest render of future Pakistani corvettes does not show the fire control radar associated with the HHQ-16 missile, but does show the MBDA Albatros NG system and its flexible vertical launcher.
PN expects the first of its four new corvettes to enter service in 2024. This matches the date mentioned in a March 2021 press release when MBDA received its first order from an anonymous international customer for the Albatros NG naval air defense system.
Albatros NG fires the extended-range variant of the MBDA Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) family.
Pakistan-based defense analyst Usman Ansari said shepherd that he does not think that the switch from Chinese missiles to European missiles reflects PN dissatisfaction with the performance of the HHQ-16.
In his opinion, this shows that the Pakistani Navy opts for a mixture of weapons and does not rely too much on a single supplier.
Pakistan is still waiting to receive its first Chinese-made Type 054A multi-mission frigate, armed with HHQ-16. A total of four Type 054A are on order from the PN.
Another important factor in switching from Chinese missiles to European missiles could be the significant weight savings achieved without sacrificing, or even improving, performance. The CAMM-ER missile has a longer range than the HHQ-16 at around 25% by weight (160 kg against 650 kg for the Chinese missile).
Albatros NG will equip the four corvettes. The first two are under construction at the Istanbul Shipyard in Turkey and the second in Karachi.
The ships are to be delivered between 2023 and 2025, and Shephard’s defense overview calculates their cost at $ 250 million per ship.