The Pakistan Navy’s Type 054P frigate was launched by China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on 22nd August.
The Pakistan Navy ordered four Type 054As; the first contract was signed for the first two frigates in 2017, the last two orders were announced on 1 June 2018 as well. All for ships are expected and scheduled to enter service for Pakistan Navy by 2021.
The steel-cutting ceremony for the second Type 054A frigate for the Pakistan Navy (PN) was held in China on 19 December 2018, marking the beginning of construction of the vessel at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
On November 1, 2019, China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding held a steel cutting ceremony for the Pakistan Navy’s third and fourth Type 054A frigates. The induction of these vessels could significantly enhance the service’s anti-air warfare capabilities. The keel-laying ceremony for the second ship was held on March 23, 2019 at Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
Type 054 A/P class frigates :
The Type 054A/P displaces at 4,200 tons. It was designed as a multi-mission platform capable of anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-air warfare (AAW). It currently serves as the mainstay frigate of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), which operates 30 Type 054As.
The ships Pakistan is getting are similar to their PLAN counterparts, except they make use of export-grade versions of key subsystems and weapons. Pakistan’s Type 054A/Ps will house a 32-cell vertical launch system (VLS) carrying the LY-80N medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM), two triple ASW torpedo tubes, and a possibly different AShW capability.
Official illustrations of the Type 054A/P in 2018 showed either a two-by-three or two-by-two cell suite for anti-ship cruising missiles (ASCM). This modification could be for compatibility with Pakistan’s locally manufactured ‘Harbah’ dual-ASCM/land-attack cruise missiles (LACM). If derived from the Babur LACM (which is likely), the Harbah ASCM/LACM should have a range of 450 km to 700 km-plus.