The Istanbul Naval Shipyard will cut steel tomorrow for Pakistan’s first MILGEM frigate to signal the start of construction of four vessels for the Asian nation.
Pakistan had ordered 4 MILGEM frigates with Turkish shipbuilder Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret AŞ (STM) in July 2018. Though the value of the contract was not disclosed, a Pakistani media report stated that closing the MILGEM sale would raise the value of STM’s business activities in Pakistan to $1.5 billion.
The then Defense Minister of Turkey, Nurettin Canikli, had described the deal as “the largest defense export of Turkey in one agreement.”
The MILGEM project was initiated in 2000 to locally design and build a fleet of multipurpose corvettes (Ada-class) and frigates that will replace older ships. The “Ada-class” naval corvettes, which are 99.5 meters in length, have been designed to carry out missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air defense, surveillance and reconnaissance. The corvettes are armed with a 76-millimeter gun, missiles and torpedoes. The ship is capable of carrying Sikorsky S-70 helicopter or unmanned aircraft, along with the associated armaments, 20 tons of JP-5 aircraft fuel, aerial refueling systems and maintenance facilities.
Meanwhile, TCG Kinaliada, the fourth ship of the MILGEM project, will be handed over to the Turkish Navy at a commissioning ceremony in Istanbul on Sunday.