First Warship of Pakistan's New Generation: Chinese-Built Type 054 Frigate Inducted as PNS Tughril

On January 24th the Pakistan Navy inducted the the first of a new generation of surface warships into service in a ceremony held at the Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Karachi. The ship in question was the Type 054A/P Class frigate PNS Tughril, which is the first of four ships of its class have been laid down in China to meet Pakistani orders. President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi attended the ceremony and announced that the Type 054A/Ps would be deployed to safeguard the sea routes of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He emphasised that the project was another manifestation of the deep Sino-Pakistani friendship, describing a time-tested fraternity emerging between the two countries which continued to strengthen and would promote security, stability and peace. He further extended gratitude to Admiral Dong Jun of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy for providing support during trials and commissioning of the new warships. Further sales of the Type 054A/P Class to Pakistan have been speculated to be under consideration.

After beginning construction in January 2019, the PNS Tughril was launchd from Chinese shipyards in August 2020, following an order from the Pakistani Defence Ministry in June 2018. The frigates are particularly prized for their high situational awareness fielding Type 382, Type 344, Type 345, MR-36A and RM-1290 radars and powerful sonar systems, and have a formidable air defence capability for ships of their size with each fielding 32 vertical launch cells capable of carrying HHQ-16 medium range surface to air missiles. The ships are also highly capable in anti submarine warfare roles armed with Yu-8 anti submarine rockets which are deployed from the same launch cells. Although the Type 054A/P is considered one of the world’s most formidable frigate-sized warships, its ability to go head to head with larger destroyer sized ships fielded by the Indian Navy remains limited due primarily on the nature of its armaments suite which does not emphasise anti-surface capabilities. The possibility that Pakistan will in future commission ships with modern anti-ship cruise missiles such as the YJ-12 or YJ-18 has been raised in the past, although its ability to afford destroyer sized ships such as the Chinese Type 052D Class remains in question. Such missiles would be needed to provide parity against Indian destroyers' formidable BrahMos cruise missiles, which are based on the Russian P-800 design and combine a sea skimming trajectory with a Mach 3 speed. 

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