The commissioning ceremony of the PNS Tughril frigate was held by the Pakistani navy on January 24, 2022 at the shipyard in Karachi.

This is the first of four Type-054A/P-class ships built by China to order from Pakistan. Then, on 23 June 2022, the second ship of the class, the Taimur, was commissioned. The other two are expected to be put into service soon in 2023. Four Tughril-class frigates will form the backbone of the Pakistani Navy’s surface fleet.

Pakistan and China have a strong military relationship. Possession of the advanced Type 054A frigates will greatly enhance the Pakistani Navy’s ability to defend its maritime borders. The Type 054A is a multi-role frigate and is recognized as the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy fleet of surface combatants with 30 vessels in commission. They have a length of 134 meters, a beam of 16 meters for a displacement of 4,000 tons.

Power is through a COmbined Diesel-And-Diesel arrangement involving 4 x Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC marine diesels driving power to 2 x Shafts astern. This provides the warship with a straight line, ocean-going speed in excess of 27 knots with an operational range out to 8,025 nautical miles. Additional range is granted by a helicopter that can be launched and retrieved from the stern-based helipad. As is common with frigates today, a full-service hangar is integrated in the design.

As part of its anti-surface warfare capabilities, the Tughril-class carries CM-302 anti-ship cruise missiles, reportedly capable of supersonic-speeds of up to Mach 3. Reportedly, Pakistan is currently developing a hypersonic anti-ship ballistic missile – dubbed the “P282”, for later use on the frigates. Other reports have also stipulated that the frigates may be equipped with the CM-401 anti-ship ballistic missile, capable of traversing at hypersonic speeds; however, this is yet to be confirmed.

The class also features one “PJ-26” 76 mm naval gun, primarily for neutralizing surface, or aerial targets. As part its anti-air warfare capabilities, the class features the LY-80N medium-range surface-to-air missiles, with a reported range of up to 70 km; the LY-80N, too, has often been compared to the Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles utilized by the Indian Navy, given the missiles’ similarities.

The class also features two 11-barrel 30 mm Type 1130 close-in weapon systems, primarily for neutralizing aerial and surface targets. As part of its anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the class features two Type 87 six-tube anti-submarine rocket launchers and two 324 mm Yu-7 anti-submarine torpedoes. The class features two Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers.

Installed systems include the SR2410C Active, Electronically-Scanned Array radar, the Type 517 VHF air-search radar, and the MR-36A series surface-search radar. A Type 347G system aids in fire control and a pair of Racal RM-1290 I-band navigation radars round out the suite. Passive or active sonar is carried through a hull-bow installation as well as a traditional towed-array unit.

The Pakistan Navy is currently undertaking an important renewal of its fleet, with the procurement of several modern platforms: In addition to these frigates from China, Pakistan will also commission new corvettes from Turkey and OPV from the Netherlands. It is also modernizing its submarine force. In 2016, Pakistan agreed to pay China $5 billion for the acquisition of eight Chinese Yuan-class type-041 diesel submarines by 2028 in order to shift the force balance with its archrival India.


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