PNS BADR, the Third Ship of the PN MİLGEM Project, Has Been Launched

The Pakistan PN MİLGEM Project, Turkey’s largest single defense industry export item, has delivered its third vessel. Pakistan’s third Babur-class corvette, the PNS BADR, constructed under the main contractorship of ASFAT within the scope of the project, was launched on May 20 at the Black May Shipyard and Engineering Factory in the port city of Karachi in the south of Pakistan.

The launching ceremony for the PNS Badr was attended by Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, ASFAT General Manager Esad Akgün, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistani Defense Production Minister Muhammad Israr Tareen, Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Amjad Khan Niazi, and military delegations from two countries.

Participants attending the launching ceremony of the PNS BADR corvette / From The Turkish Ministry of National Defense

Hulusi Akar, who spoke at the launch, expressed his pleasure at returning to Pakistan and said that another significant milestone in the MİLGEM corvette project for the Pakistan Armed Forces had been reached. “The MİLGEM Class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy,” Akar stated, highlighting the Corvettes’ features. “Equipped with state-of-the-art technology weapons and modern sensors including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine weapons, advanced command and control systems, these ships will make a significant contribution to the capabilities of the Pakistan Navy.”

Following Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif spoke at the launch ceremony, praising the engineers and workers at the Karachi shipyard for their craftsmanship. Continuing his speech, Sharif stated that the launch of Pakistan’s third corvette, the PNS BADR, was “a moment of pride for the entire Pakistani nation and the naval forces of the two countries”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who did not attend the ceremony, sent a video message to the MİLGEM corvette launch ceremony. Erdogan began his message by emphasizing Turkey and Pakistan’s deep historical ties. “I consider the Pakistan MİLGEM Project, which is a sign of our will to share knowledge in the defense industry with our friends, as a harbinger of greater cooperation,” Erdogan said, wishing that the aforementioned project, which is one of the most concrete examples of these ties between the two countries in recent years, will be beneficial.

The Pakistan Navy and the Turkish business ASFAT agreed on September 6, 2018 to manufacture four MİLGEM class corvettes for the Pakistan Navy, with ASFAT serving as the main contractors. Two of the corvettes were to be built in Turkey’s Istanbul shipyard, while the other two will be built in Pakistan’s Karachi shipyard, according to the conditions of the agreement, which also includes a technology exchange. The four ships built as part of the PN MİLGEM project, which began production on March 11, 2019, are scheduled to be delivered in August 2023, February 2024, August 2024, and February 2025, in that order.

The third corvette PNS BADR built within the scope of the PN MİLGEM Project / From The Turkish Ministry of National Defense

MİLGEM class corvettes, according to ASFAT, are designed for surface, air, and anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance, surveillance, defense against asymmetric threats, and command and control operations. The ship is 108.8 meters in length and 14.8 meters in width. It can accelerate to 26 knots per hour using two diesel engines and a gas turbine, and has a displacement of 2,400 tons and a draft of 4.1 meters. The corvettes also include a platform hangar and a large quantity of support equipment for a 10-ton helicopter that can execute sorties at any time of day.

Infographic about PNS BADR, the third ship of the PN MİLGEM Project / From The Turkish Ministry of National Defense

The PN MİLGEM corvettes are outfitted with two 6-cell Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Systems, two 3-Launcher Surface-to-Surface Guided Missile Systems, a 76mm SUPERRAPID Main Gun, a Torpedo Launching System, a Close Air Defense System, two 25 mm Remote Controlled Stabilized Gun Systems (STOP), a Hull Mounted Sonar and a Torpedo Jamming / Deception System (TKAS).

Due to years of tense ties with India, the Pakistan Navy is now refurbishing its fleet by acquiring various new platforms. In addition to the MİLGEM class corvettes acquired from Turkey, the Pakistan Navy has received two Yarmook-class Offshore Patrol Ships from the Netherlands and will receive four Type 054 A/P multi-role frigates from China. The Turkish defense company STM is also working on modernizing the French-made AGOSTA 90 B submarines that are currently in the Pakistani Navy’s inventory.