China on Sunday launched the first Type-054 frigate being built for the Pakistan Navy.
“Launching ceremony of 1st state of the art Type-054 class frigate for Pakistan Navy, was held at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, China. Cdre Azfar Humayun (Chief Naval Overseer) graced event as CG in presence of China Shipbuilding Trading Co, Ltd. (CSTC) Chairman, Mr. Li Hongtao,” Pakistan Navy (PN) Director General of Public Relations (DGPR), Rear Admiral M. Arshid Javed, said in a Twitter statement August 23.
The official noted that the warship will be fitted with latest surface, sub-surface, anti-air weapons, Combat Management System and sensors.
China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) scored a deal to provide four Type-054 battle ships to Pakistan in 2017 and 2018. The Navy was originally slated to receive all ships by 2021.
Pakistan is the launch customer of the Type 054A frigate. The cost of the vessels was not mentioned. However, various independent estimates have put a price tag of US$350-$400 million apiece including the electronics systems which should make it substantially cheaper compared to a US, European or even a Russian warship of similar size, features and capability.
Under the PN’s program, the acquisition is being designated as “F-22P Batch II”, i.e., alluding to a reported plan in 2015 to procure another batch of F-22P frigates which would be improved versions of the Zulfiqar-class in the PN’s fleet.
The Type 054A class of missile frigates is derived from the Type 054 (Jiangkai Class), integrates advanced weapons and sensor systems. The first frigate in class, Xuzhou (530), was commissioned into Chinese Navy service in January 2008 and the last ship in 2015.