Pakistani Navy chief admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila has announced the launch of its first Azmat-class Fast Attack Craft (Missile), PNS Azmat, at Xingang shipyard in Tianjin, China.

The delivery follows the previously awarded contract to Offshore International Company (CSOC) and China Shipbuilding for the construction of the two modern missile craft for the Pakistan navy on the basis of transfer of technology.

Sandila said: "This ship’s immense firepower coupled with stealthy features makes it a real versatile platform which would not only prove vital for ensuring effective presence in our area of operations, but would bring a new dimension of operation of stealthy platform of this tonnage."

The missile craft induction will also provide an opportunity to Pakistan Navy to distinctly uphold its forward presence in the area of interest and contribute to balance power equation in the region, Sandila added.

Pakistani Navy is "fully prepared to counter any forces challenging Pakistan’s sovereignty or threatening the security of the country’s waters," Sandila said.

Equipped with sensors, the missile craft is armed with the C802A surface-to-surface missile, automatic guns and advanced weapons systems.

The 63m-long Azmat-class FAC will be propelled by four diesel engines, has a displacement capacity of 560t, beam of 8.8m and can cruise at a speed of 30k.

Construction on the two ships began in June 2010 with the second craft scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012 at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW).

The second vessel belonging to the same class, PNS Dahshat will also be equipped with advanced weaponry and sensors, including surface-to-surface missiles and stealth features.