The first of two corvettes on order for the Pakistan Navy (PN) has been launched at the facilities of Dutch shipbuilder Damen in Galati, Romania.
The service announced on its Facebook page that the 2,300-ton vessel, which had been previously described as an offshore patrol vessel (OPV), entered the water on 17 May in a ceremony held at the shipyard in Romania and attended by PN Vice Admiral Abdul Aleem, among others.
The contract for the two vessels was signed in June 2017, with the first corvette expected to enter service by the end of 2019, and the second one set to be delivered by mid-2020, according to the navy.
Vice Adm Aleem was quoted as saying during the ceremony that these platforms "will act as force multipliers in enhancing [the] navy's capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility in the conduct of [the] Pakistan Navy's initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region".
The multirole corvettes have been previously described by the PN as "state-of-the-art vessels" especially suited for anti-surface, anti-air, and maritime security operations.
Each of them features a helicopter pad to facilitate search-and-rescue missions, as well as surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations. No further details were provided about the systems or weapons set to be fitted onto the class.
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