Khawaja Daud, Daily Pakistan
16 October 2016
BEIJING/KARACHI – China will export eight stealth attack submarines to Pakistan, as part of a deal signed earlier this year, according to People’s Daily. In a conference to discuss the details of the arrangement, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation has confirmed the project. The corporation’s chairman, Hu Wenming, said the conference aimed to continue the spirit
generated by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speeches on the Belt & Road Construction Work Symposium. China is to provide the Pakistan Navy with eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines by 2028. In April, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the deal and called the deal could be “one of China’s largest overseas weapons sales once it is signed”.
The deal could cost between 4 billion to 5 billion USD, the Financial Times reported. Four of the eight submarines will reportedly be built at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) while the remaining four submarines will be built in China. The majority of analysts speculate that the new submarine will be a lighter export version of the People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s Type 039 and Type 041 Yuan-class conventional attack submarine, excluding the sub’s AIP system, which might be procured independently. According to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Type 041 Yuan-class is “a diesel electric attack submarine (SSK), potentially with Stirling air-independent propulsion, that is armed with YJ-2 (YJ-82) anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes.”
It purportedly is one of the quietest subs in the PLAN’s inventory. The scaled-down 2,300-ton export version is designated S20. The first four submarines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023; the remaining four will be assembled in Karachi by 2028. The new subs are expected to form the sea-based arm of Pakistan’s nuclear second-strike triad. The Pakistan Navy is in middle of upgrading its undersea warfare capabilities. In June, Turkish state-owned defense contractor STM won a contract for the mid-life upgrade of three Agosta 90B-class (aka Khalid-class) dieselelectric attack submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion systems