Istanbul Shipyard Launched First Babur-Class Corvette For Pakistan Navy -PHOTO/VIDEO

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Turkey launched the first Babur-class MILGEM corvette for Pakistan on August 15. at Istanbul Shipyard in the presence of Pakistani President Alvi and Turkish President Erdogan.

Mrs Samina Alvi, the First Lady launched the warship with a prayer. Both Presidents also jointly performed steel cutting of Akhisar, the offshore patrol vessel for Turkish Navy.

Addressing the ceremony, President Dr. Arif Alvi said that both countries shared common objectives of promoting peace, stability and development in their respective regions. He highlighted that Pakistan and Turkey were further strengthening their cooperation across various spheres, particularly in defence, to deal with common challenges and new and emerging threats.

Thanking Turkey for construction of the PNS Babur within the timeline, the President emphasized that this project is a testimony of strong relations and expressed the hope that it would further boost defence collaboration between the two brotherly countries. President Dr. Arif Alvi lauded Turkey’s continuing support on Kashmir dispute and reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering support to Turkey on the Cyprus issue.

Turkish MoD picture.

In his address, President Erdoğan said that Turkey and Pakistan brotherhood and friendship is deep rooted in history and the people of Turkey have a special place in their hearts for Pakistan. He highlighted the enhanced collaboration between the two countries in various fields including defence production. He said despite the pandemic, Pakistan-Turkey bilateral trade is improving. He hoped that economic ties would further improve. President Erdogan stressed the need to closely work together to promote regional peace and stability including in Afghanistan.

Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, Chief of the Naval Staff of Pakistan Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, alongwith senior Turkish defence officials, including Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Yaşar Güler and Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Adnan Özbal also attended the ceremony.Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Niazi in his remarks lauded the great achievement of MILGEM project.

Naval News comments

Turkish MoD picture.

In July 2018, a contract was signed between 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 keel laying for this first corvette took place on 4 June 2020 at Istanbul Naval Shipyard. It is expected to be delivered to Pakistan Navy in 2023. The remaining ships will follow her in 6-month intervals. The last ship will be handed over in 2025.

The contract entails construction of two corvettes in Turkey and two at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). The contract has also provisions for transfer of design rights and construction know-how from Turkey to Pakistan.

The Pakistan Navy is currently undertaking an important renewal of its fleet, with the procurement of several modern platforms: In addition to these corvettes from Turkey, Pakistan will also commission new frigates from China and OPV from the Netherlands. It is also modernizing its submarine force.

About Pakistan’s MILGEM / Babur-class corvettes

Rendering of the future Pakistan Navy corvette

The Pakistan Navy previously stated:

the MILGEM-class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced stealth surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet. The vessel is equipped with state of the art weapons & modern sensors including surface to surface, surface to air missiles, anti submarine weapons and Command & Control system. Induction of these ship in Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the lethality of Pakistan Navy’s capabilities and contribute in maintaining peace, security and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region.

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.

Pakistan’s Babur-class Main specifications:

  • 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

Turkey’s Ada-class Main specifications:

  • Displacement: 2400 tonnes
  • Length: 99m
  • Beam: 14.4m
  • Draft: 3.9m
  • Propulsion: CODAG
  • Max speed: 31 knots
  • Range: 3500 nautical miles
  • Endurance: 10 days at sea
  • Crew: 93