Pakistan Buys Chinese Guided Missile Frigates

The Times of India has reported that Pakistan's navy was negotiating with China to acquire at least four F-22 (Jiangwei-II Class/Type 053H3) frigates to “help fend off a treacherous enemy." Tacitly acknowledging his country’s continuing ‘two cats tied in a sack’ relationship with India, Admiral Shahid Karimullah reminded reporters that, "We have a treacherous enemy who misses no opportunity to take advantage and thrust hostilities upon us. It is therefore imperative that we remain fully prepared and alive to the situation for countering the nefarious designs of our adversary."

To date, the PRC has commissioned three, launched a fourth, and has six more under construction with others planned.

The basic hull and the main machinery of the Pakistani ships are to be the same as that of China's Jiangwei II-class frigates, but the command-and-control systems, the weapons and the sensors will be specially modified to Pakistan’s needs. They will be armed with a variety of French Exocet, Chinese C-802, and US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The Jiangwei II Class, at 2,250 tons, appears generally similar to the original Jiangwei but carries an eight-cell HQ-7 SAM to replace the original HQ-61 SAM, and eight modified YJ-83 SSMs replacing the original six YJ-82 SSMs. For self-defense, the class carries the RWD-8 intercept, 981-3 jammers, SR-210 radar warning receiver, and two PJ46 decoy rocket launchers. In addition, the redesigned twin-100 mm main gun are installed, and two aft 37 mm AAA were moved to the top of the helicopter hanger.

Modifications on C3I and sensor systems include new fire-control Type 345 radar, which has replaced the obsolete Type 343 for the control of twin-100 mm gun and 37 mm AAAs, and datalink for over-horizon-attack on surface targets. The C3I system on Jiangwei-II is reported to be a Chinese copy of the French Thomson-CSF TAVITAC, which is installed on the latest destroyers of the PLAN.

With these improvements, Jiangwei-II are more capable than the original Jiangwei in many terms. Apparently the PLAN is generally satisfied with the performance of Jiangwei-II and is likely going to order more hulls in the near future.

An initial purchase of four of the ships was deferred in 1995 because of economic and diplomatic problems. Pakistan plans to sign the contract before the end of the fiscal year, with delivery of the first ship from China by 2005. A subsequent three F-22s are to be built at Pakistan's Naval Dockyard in Karachi, with the last of these delivered by 2009.