Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) has announced the keel laying of the fourth and final MILGEM-class corvette for the Pakistan Navy.

It was laid at KS&EW by Turkish Ministry of Defense-affiliated contractor company ASFAT on 5 November.

The ceremony marks a milestone in the project and follows the steel cutting held for the corvette in June this year.

In a post on the official Twitter account of Director General Public Relations (Navy), Pakistan Chief of Naval staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi complemented KS&EW’s role in the construction of the vessels.

He called the naval partnership between the countries a ‘historic event’.

KS&EW managing director rear admiral Ather Saleem said: “Construction of the corvettes will provide impetus to local ship building industry and enhance KS&EW capabilities. The addition of the ships would add to the lethality and ops capability of the Pakistan Navy.”

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The vessel is being built as part of the agreement signed between Pakistan and Turkey on 6 September 2018. The programme started in March 2019.

The scope of the MILGEM programme of the Pakistan Navy includes four ships. Two will be built at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard and the other two at KS&EW.

Two corvettes are expected to become operational in 2023 and the remainder in 2024.

In August, the Pakistan Navy’s first MILGEM-class corvette ship, PNS Babur (F-280), was launched in Istanbul, Turkey.

The corvettes are fitted with advanced surface-to-air, surface-to-surface missiles, an torpedo launching system, as well as other weapon systems and sensors.