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China launches second Type 054A/P-class frigate for Pakistan Navy

China’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai has launched the second of four Type 054A/P-class frigates on order for the Pakistan Navy (PN).

The 134 m-long ship entered the water in a ceremony held on 29 January that was also attended by Commodore Azfar Humayun, the PN’s Chief Naval Overseer in China. The move, which took place on the same day China launched its third Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship from the same dry-dock, comes after the yard launched the first frigate of the class in August 2020.

The contract for the first two of these frigates is believed to have been signed in 2017 and a further contract for two more ships was announced in June 2018, when it was also indicated that delivery of all four ships was expected to be completed by 2021/2022.

Work has also begun on the third and fourth frigates of the class, with a steel-cutting ceremony held for both these ships on 1 November 2019.

The vessels, which are based on the Type 054A (Jiangkai II)-class frigates operated by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), are expected to replace the PN’s four remaining Tariq-class frigates – formerly Type 21 (Amazon)-class frigates – built for the Royal Navy in the 1970s.

Little official information has been released about the weapons and sensors being fitted to the Type 054A/P frigates, but the platforms will potentially deliver a significant uplift in capability comparable to that of the PLAN frigates.

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