China launches 2nd advanced naval frigate for Pakistan

Beijing, Jan 29 (PTI) China on Friday launched the second naval missile frigate equipped with an improved radar system and long-range missiles for its all-weather ally Pakistan to help it bolster maritime defence and deterrence capabilities, according to a media report.

The Pakistan Navy has contracted the construction of four Type 054A/P frigates from China since 2017, and the first ship was launched in August last year.

The Type 054A multi-purpose, guided-missile frigate is the mainstay of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, with 30 vessels in commission.

The second Type 054A/P frigate for Pakistan was launched on Friday in Shanghai which will significantly enhance Pakistan’s maritime defence and deterrence capabilities, the state-run Global Times reported.

Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the daily earlier that the Type 054A, on which the Type 054A/P is based, is China’s most advanced frigate.

Compared with previous Chinese frigates, the new version has better air defence capability, as it is equipped with an improved radar system and a larger number of missiles with a longer range, Zhang said, noting that the Type 054A frigate also has world-class stealth capability.

These ships will be some of the most technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistan Navy Surface Fleet, equipped with the modern surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons, sensors and combat management systems, Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, Chief of the Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy, told the newspaper.

“These ships will boost (the) potency of our fleet and significantly contribute to maintaining peace and security in the region,” he said.

China, which shares all-weather ties with Pakistan, has emerged as the biggest weapons supplier for Pakistan’s military.

Besides advanced naval ships, China also partners with the Pakistan Air Force to build JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft.