Chinese shipbuilder Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (HDZH) has launched the first of four Type 054A/P frigates for the Pakistan Navy at its Shanghai yard.
The launch comes after the first two ships were ordered in 2017 and the second two in 2018. HDZH started construction works on the lead ship in 2018, while work is underway on the three remaining ships.
The Type 054A/P (P for Pakistan) is an export version of the Type 054 frigate class that is already serving with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
As a multi-mission platform capable of conducting anti-ship, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare, the Type 054A/P displaces 4,200 tons and has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. The four frigates being built for Pakistan will feature a 32-cell vertical launch system (VLS) that is expected to be capable of launching LY-80 (HQ-16) medium-range surface-to-air missiles developed by Pakistan and inducted in 2017.
The frigates will also feature torpedo, and decoy launchers, in addition to Russian AK-630 close in weapon systems and 76-mm main gun from China.
Hudong Zhonghua should deliver all four ships to Pakistan by 2021.