China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard launched the third Type-054 frigate for the Pakistan Navy in a ceremony at its Shanghai yard on August 3.
Also known as Type 054A/P (P for Pakistan), the ships are an export version of the Type 054 frigate class that is already serving with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
The third unit was launched after Pakistan initially ordered the first two ships in 2017 and another two in 2018. HDZH started construction works on the lead ship in 2018, and launched it in August 2020. The second unit was launched alongside the Chinese Navy’s third Type 075 landing helicopter dock in January 2021.
According to earlier estimates, China was expected to deliver all four ships in the class by the end of 2021. It remains to be seen whether the goal is still attainable.
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.
In addition to the Type 054A/P frigates, Pakistan is also buying four corvettes from Turkey and two offshore patrol vessels from Dutch shipbuilder Damen.