Karachi, 6 November 2021 (TDI): The keel-laying ceremony for a MILGEM (National Ship) class corvette built for the Pakistan Navy was held in Karachi, Pakistan’s southern port city, on Friday, 5th October 2021.

Naval Chief Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, Pakistan Navy officials, and representatives of Turkey’s state-run military firm ASFAT attended the ceremony at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW), the Pakistan Navy’s specialised shipbuilding division, according to an official release.

The fourth and final PN MILGEM-class corvette for the Pakistan Navy was laid down on November 5th at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) by ASFAT Inc, a Turkish Ministry of Defense-affiliated contractor company.

Admiral Niazi, speaking at the ceremony, stated that Pakistan’s manufacturing of indigenous modern warships with the assistance of Turkey is a proud moment for the country.

According to him, the joint venture would open up new channels for cooperation between Ankara and Islamabad in the defence sector.

The induction of the MILGEM-class ships would greatly improve the Pakistan Navy’s operating capabilities, according to the statement.

The ships will be built to modern naval ship class standards and will be outfitted with cutting-edge armaments and sensors, such as surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, as well as anti-submarine weapons, according to the statement.

During the ceremony, ASFAT’s General Manager, Esad Akgün also spoke, emphasising the importance of the PN MILGEM project. He stated that the design of Jinnah-class frigates for the Pakistan Navy had been finished. He underlined that the Jinnah project, which has been in the design phase for two years, has increased Pakistan-Turkey cooperation.

Signing of the contract

The Pakistan Navy inked a contract with ASFAT in July 2018 to purchase four MILGEM-class ships. Two corvettes will be built in Turkey, and other two will be built in Pakistan, with technology transfer involved.

MILGEM ships are 99 metres (325 feet) long, have a 24,000-ton displacement capacity, and can travel at a speed of 29 nautical miles. Radar-evading anti-submarine battle frigates are possible.

During a ceremony in Istanbul in October 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdoan and then-Chief of Pakistan Navy Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi cut the metal plate of the first MILGEM class corvette.

Turkey is one of only ten countries in the world capable of designing, building, and maintaining warships using domestic resources.