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Pakistan validates post-upgrade capabilities of Khalid-class submarine in sinking exercise

A decommissioned Tariq-class frigate being hit with a single DM-2A4 torpedo fired from Pakistan's Agosta 90B submarine, PNS Hamza . (STM)

A Pakistan Navy Khalid (Agosta 90B)-class submarine has carried out a demonstration of its post-upgrade capabilities in a sinking exercise.

PNS Hamza (S-139) demonstrated these capabilities at Exercise โ€˜Sea Spark', a biennial series of maritime drills conducted by the Pakistan Naval Strategic Forces Command. The latest iteration of the drills was held from 17 February to 13 March in the Arabian Sea.

During this exercise, Hamza deployed a single DM-2A4 torpedo against a decommissioned Pakistan Navy Tariq-class frigate and sunk the vessel with the round, said Turkish defence engineering company STM in a statement on 21 March.

STM was awarded a contract to upgrade Pakistan's fleet of three Khalid-class submarines, including Hamza , in 2016. As part of the upgrades, the boats are being fitted with a new underwater command-and-control suite, weapon control systems, sonars, attack and search periscopes, and electronic warfare effectors, among other equipment.

Upgrade work on Hamza was completed in early 2021 and the boat was handed over in April that year. Work on the remaining boats, PNS Khalid (S-137) and PNS Saad (S-138), is ongoing.

The Pakistan Navy commissioned its Khalid-class submarines between September 1999 and September 2008. The first-of-class was built in Cherbourg by French shipbuilder, Naval Group (then known as DCN), while the remaining boats were built in Karachi as part of a technology transfer programme.

Two of the vessels feature air-independent propulsion (AIP) capabilities. Hamza was fitted with a 200 kW MESMA liquid oxygen AIP system from the time it was constructed, while Saad

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