Beijing, Aug 31 (IANS) Pakistan is to receive eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines from China by 2028, media reports said.
The head of Pakistan’s next-generation submarine programme made the announcement to the country’s National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence on August 26, Sputnik News International reported.
The agreement between the two nations is valued at $4-$5 billion and it is anticipated that China will extend a low interest rate loan.
The announcement also confirmed that the project was moving ahead, but was not clear whether a contract has been signed.
Rear Admiral Syed Hassan Nasir Shah announced in April that a contract had been secured by the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) to construct four of the eight submarines, with the other four being built by the China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC).
The submarines will be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.
In April 2011, the China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp signed a contract to supply six Type 032 Qing-class conventional attack submarines by 2016 or 2017.
“In the recent past, there have been reports of discussions for the Type 041 submarines,” a Pakistan Foreign Ministry official said.
According to reports, Pakistan will also build two types of submarines with Chinese assistance: the Project S-26 and Project S-30.
These are to be built at the Submarine Rebuild Complex (SRC) facility being developed at Ormara, west of Karachi.
Most analysts believe that the new craft would be a lighter version of the Type 039 and Type 041 Yuan-class conventional attack submarine used by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
The export version of the smaller submarine, weighing 2,300 tonnes, was designated as S20. The first four submarines were stated to be delivered by the end of 2023.
The others being assembled in Karachi were set to be completed by 2028. This acquisition of new submarine was a part of Pakistan’s effort to upgrade its capabilities in underwater warfare.
It is believed that the eight submarines would form the foundation of the country’s growing sea-based nuclear second-strike triad.