Pakistan Navy’s first MILGEM-class corvette ship, named PNS Babur, has been launched from a shipyard in Istanbul, Turkey.

The launch ceremony was attended by Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

At the event, President Alvi thanked Turkey for the construction of PNS Babur within the timeline and expressed hope that the project will help in strengthening defence collaboration between the two countries.

The launch of the first vessel came around three years after Pakistan signed a contract with Turkish manufacturer ASFAT for four MILGEM-class corvettes.

Istanbul Naval Shipyard will be responsible for building the first two vessels, while the other two will be constructed at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works.

These ships will bolster Pakistan Navy’s capabilities towards maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

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In June this year, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works held the steel cutting ceremony of the fourth MILGEM-class corvette.

The 99m-long corvettes will be equipped with advanced surface, sub-surface and anti-air weapons and sensors, integrated through an advanced ‘Network-Centric Combat Management System’.

PNS Babur is expected to be delivered in 2023, while the remaining three vessels will be handed over by 2025.

China recently launched a Type-054 frigate, developed for the Pakistan Navy. The addition of these frigates to the naval forces will strengthen the Pakistan Navy’s maritime defence and deterrence capabilities.

China is slated to deliver four Type 054 frigates to Pakistan.