China Delivers Its ‘Most Advanced’ Frigate – PNS Taimur – To Pakistan; Navy Says Will Boost Combat Capabilities

The Pakistan Navy received the second Type 054A/P frigate (PNS Taimur) from China on Thursday, significantly boosting the country’s ambitions to reinforce its maritime frontiers.

According to the state-run Global Times, PNS Taimur was commissioned at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, China.  

This is the second of the four Type 054 A/P frigates China produced for the Pakistan Navy. In January, the Pakistan Navy Fleet received its first Type 054A/P frigate, the PNS Tughril. The other two are being built in China.

Taimur is a competent and technologically powerful maritime asset equipped with advanced combat management, electronic warfare systems, and high-tech weapons and sensors to fight in multi-threat environments, Pakistan Navy said in a statement

The ships will provide the Pakistan Navy with a sustainable boost in combat power and allow it to take on new challenges in maritime security and regional peace.

The PNS Taimur, the second of four Type 054A/P frigates China built for Pakistan, is commissioned at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on June 23, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of the Pakistan Navy
The PNS Taimur, the second of four Type 054A/P frigates China built for Pakistan, is commissioned at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai on June 23, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of the Pakistan Navy

Commodore Rashid Mehmood Sheikh, head of the Pakistan Navy Mission in China, attended the event as the chief guest. In his remarks, Commodore Rashid emphasized that the addition of the advanced frigates will considerably improve the Pakistan Navy’s capabilities in fortifying the defense of maritime borders. 

He further lauded the PLA Navy and the Chinese shipbuilding industry for their collaborative efforts in achieving the landmark objective of delivering the well-equipped and powerful frigate on time.

Later, the deputy director-general of the military product department of China emphasized that China and Pakistan are aware of the evolving geopolitical situation and are acting proactively to face the new responsibilities and growing challenges together.

Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times that “the Type 054A, on which the Type 054A/P is based, is China’s most advanced frigate.”

A Technologically Advanced Warship

PNS Taimur is the export version of China’s one of the most technologically advanced warships ever constructed and commissioned, the Jiangkai II or 054A. The second of four guided-missile frigates to be supplied to Pakistan is projected to increase the combat capability and operational readiness of the Pakistani Navy. 

PNS Taimur is equipped with electronic warfare systems, the latest surface, subsurface, and anti-air weapons, besides a battle management system. It is thought to be a replacement for the F-22P frigate.

This Pakistan’s Navy would be able to carry out both anti-surface and anti-submarine missions while being geared up for anti-air combat.

The Type 054-A/P is outfitted with the HQ-16 medium-range air-defense missiles with a maximum speed of 50 km. The warship also maintains stealth capabilities due to its sleek profile, radar-absorbent materials, and sloped hull design. 

The ship is also equipped with two Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns or Type 1130, eight C-803 anti-ship/land-attack cruise missiles, a PJ26 dual-purpose naval gun, six 324mm Yu-7 ASW torpedo launchers, two Type 87 240mm anti-submarine rocket launchers (carrying 36 rockets), and two Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers.

Senior research fellow at China Naval Research Academy, Zhang Junshe, told Global Times, “Compared to previous Chinese frigates, the new ship has better air defense capability, as it is equipped with an improved radar system and a larger amount of missiles with a longer range.” 

Increasing Defense Cooperation

The Chinese 054A, based on the Pakistani variation Taimur, was commissioned in 2008. The first foreign buyer of this battleship was Pakistan.

In 2013, China attempted to export these warships to Thailand, but South Korean Gwanggaeto class destroyers ultimately won the contract for Thailand Navy.

Besides Taimur, China is also helping the Pakistan Navy build and acquire eight submarines of the Hangor class. According to reports, Pakistan opted to purchase eight submarines from China in 2015.

A Chinese J-10C. (via Twitter)

Four of the submarines will be built in Pakistan, and the remaining four will be built in China. All eight submarines are expected to be delivered between 2022 and 2028.

China has shipped six J-10CE fighter jets to Pakistan as part of its defense cooperation. The J-10C fighters also participated in the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, which Pakistan used to demonstrate its military prowess.

With the sale of fighter jets to submarines, China has emerged as Pakistan’s most significant defense supplier.