China–Pakistan Frigate Agreement

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 04 April 2006


The Hatf VII (Babur) missile being test fired.

The media reported (see below) that to match the Indian Navy the Pakistan Navy had decided to equip the F22P Frigates with the Babur subsonic missile, which will have land attack capability. The Babur missile kits (just like the Brahmos from Russia's NPO Mach to India) were transferred from China with expertise. Ukraine helped in the factory set up in Pakistan as Ukraine had reverse engineered the Kh35 air launched air-to-sea/ground Russian missile. In the warnings of missile firings India had not included cruise missiles possibly unaware when the agreement was discussed last year, that Pakistan had the Babur missile in the pipeline and soon after it fired the Babur, which many experts say is good and being sub sonic its range can be easily enhanced.

The BrahMos is supersonic and experts say that this is of not much consequence as the flying time is reduced only by a minute and both missiles are difficult to shoot down –– so the arms race with Pakistan continues. Pakistan’s defence budget is one fourth of India's and it continues to seek clever antidotes to India's expansion, if not parity. The Babur has a warhead of 500kgs like the BrahMos so it could be nuclear capable. The port of Gwadar is coming up fast and could replicate Dubai in the years ahead. Construction of houses and a Marriot Hotel being commissioned are indicators of activity and the potential is vast. The progress on the Ormara Jinnah Naval Base is reportedly slow.

SHANGHAI, March 30:

Pakistan and China signed an agreement here on Thursday for indigenous manufacture of the fourth F-22P frigate in Karachi. The agreement was signed by Rear Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, Managing Director, Karachi Shipyard, and Yu Yang, Executive Vice-President, China Shipbuilding Trading Company.

The signing ceremony was attended by Secretary, Defence Production, Lt-Gen (Retd) Ali Mohammad Orakzai; President, Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, Zhou Jianneng; and Pakistani Consul-General Zafaruddin Mehmood.

Signing of the agreement is yet another milestone in the ever increasing bilateral relations between the two countries in maritime sector, defence sources told APP. The agreement includes upgrading of the Karachi Shipyard and training and technical assistance by Chinese experts.

Under a contract signed by the two countries in last April, China will transfer technology to Pakistan for manufacturing F-22P frigates.

This project, while contributing to maritime defence of the country, will add a new dimension to China–Pakistan collaboration in the defence sector, sources said.

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