Pakistan has been working relentlessly to boost the capabilities of its Navy. The PNS Tughril is the lead ship of the Type 054-A/P frigate, which has been made by China and touted as a game-changer for the Islamic nation.
China and Pakistan have shared strong defense ties which go back to the 1980s. Their “all-weather” stems from their common perceptions about India as their common rival. Amid the tense border situation with India, China has exported a number of advanced weapons such as fighter jets, drones, tanks and ships to Pakistan.
As part of these exports, Pakistan recently received China’s largest and ‘most advanced stealth warship’ and experts have described the ship as a major game-changer for Islamabad.
The PNS Tughril is a Type 054-A/P frigate and was manufactured by China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC). Pakistan was the first international customer of this warship. PNS Tughril, which is one of the four China-made multi-role frigates, was inducted by the Pakistan Navy in an induction ceremony at the Pakistan Navy (PN) Dockyard in Karachi on January 24.
Along with the frigates, the Pakistan Navy also inducted 10 WS-61 Sea King helicopters which were a gift from the state of Qatar. The Sea King helicopters were inducted into the 111 Squadron of Naval Air Arm.
Out of the ten aircraft, seven are reportedly Commando Mk3 types and others are Commando Mk2A variants. The helicopter’s capabilities and mission roles include search and rescue, airborne early warning, anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship warfare, Gulf News reported.
PNS Tughril – A Technologically Superior Warship
The PNS Tughril is a technologically superior warship equipped with a new combat management system. The frigate is equipped with modern sensors and armaments such as the SR2410C long-range and Type 517/SUR17B air-surveillance radars.
The Type 054-A/P is also equipped with the HQ-16 medium-range air-defense missiles which can reach a speed as high as 50 km. The warship also has a certain degree of stealth capabilities owing to its sloped hull design, radar-absorbent materials and a clean profile, The EurAsian Times reported recently.
Commissioning Ceremony of @PakistanNavy first Type 054 A/P Frigate, PNS #TUGHRIL held at China. Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Mr Moin ul Haq @PakAmbChina graced occasion as Chief Guest.
— DGPR (Navy) (@dgprPaknavy) November 8, 2021
Owing to the ship’s vertical launching system, it can also be armed with anti-aircraft missiles as well as ship and land attacking cruise missiles. The Pakistan Navy tweeted about the new frigate’s massive weaponry surveillance capabilities. It also said that the ship’s production in China was “testimony of Pakistan-China all-weather friendship”.
Other armaments of the ship include eight C-803 anti-ship / land-attack cruise missiles, one PJ26 76 mm dual-purpose naval gun, two Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns or Type 1130, six 324mm Yu-7 ASW torpedo launchers, two Type 87 240mm anti-submarine rocket launcher (36 rockets carried) and two Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers, Daily Pakistan reported.
According to the report, the Type 054-A/P is powered by four Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC diesel engines, with each developing 5700kW. The ship has a capacity for a crew of 165 people on board and can travel at a top speed of 27 knots, and has a cruising range of 8,025 nautical miles (14,862 km).
The Induction Ceremony
The ceremony was attended by Pakistan’s President Dr. Arif Ali who was also the chief guest for the occasion. He was received by the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammed Amjad Khan Niazi, and was presented with the guard of honor by a contingent of the Pakistan Navy.
Admiral Niazi said that “the induction of PNS Tughril and Sea King helicopters would augment the force’s combat capabilities in safeguarding the territorial integrity and the maritime interests of Pakistan”. He described the guided-missile frigate as “a potent platform, fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors”.
President Alvi spoke highly about the induction of the state-of-the-art frigate and the helicopters in the PN fleet. He also showed his confidence and satisfaction that a highly capable Pakistan Navy Fleet and its air arm will continue promoting peace and stability while “guarding our maritime frontiers”, The Print reported.
The new frigate is named after Tugrul, who was a Turkoman chieftain. Tugrul founded the Seljuk Empire which ruled over modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey between the 11th and 14th centuries, The Economic Times reported.
The President also emphasized the importance of a “well-equipped” fleet with surface, air and sub-surface platforms in order to strengthen its defense systems on its sea frontiers in the currently challenging security conditions. He also stated that Pakistan was a land of peace and wanted to maintain security and stability in the region, Dawn reported.
Alvi described the induction of the PNS Tughril as a “testimony of Pak-China friendship” which has only gotten stronger with each day as it focuses on maintaining security, stability and peace.
Admiral Niazi also expressed his gratitude to the Chinese Navy commander for his support during the ship’s trials and also during its induction. He then handed over the traditional ship’s scroll and aircraft documents to the commander of the Pakistan fleet.
The induction ceremony was attended by guests from the embassies of China and Qatar, the governor of Sindh, and also retired/serving officers of the Pakistani Army, Navy and Air Force.