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Keel laid for Pakistan Navy's fourth Milgem-class corvette

Pakistan's state-owned Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) has laid the keel for the fourth and final Milgem-class corvette on order for the Pakistan Navy (PN).

The PN said in a statement that the keel-laying ceremony took place on 5 November and was attended by senior officials and members of the Pakistani military as well as a Turkish delegation that included representatives of the Military Factory and Shipyard Management (ASFAT AS).

The vessel is the second of the class being built by KSEW, with the keel for the first locally built Milgem corvette being laid in May.

The ship is part of a contract for four corvettes of the class signed in July 2018 between Islamabad and ASFAT AS, according to which two vessels would be built in Turkey, while the other two would be constructed in Pakistan with Turkish assistance as part of a technology transfer arrangement.

The PN's first ship of the class, which will be in service as PNS Babur once commissioned, was launched by Turkey's Istanbul Naval Shipyard on 15 August. It is expected to be handed over to the PN in 2023, with the second one to be delivered in the first half of 2024. Delivery of the final two vessels is set to follow thereafter at six-month intervals.

The exact weapon configuration of the corvettes has not been made public, with the service stating only that the vessels “will be equipped with modern surface, sub-surface, and anti-air weapons, sensors, and [a] combat management system”, adding that they will be “among the most technologically advanced ships of [the] Pakistan Navy and will significantly contribute [to] maintaining peace, stability, and [the] balance of power in [the] Indian Ocean Region”.

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