Pakistani Navy Left With Only Two Submarines In Active Duty
(This was originally posted in Times Now by Srinjoy Chowdhury)
technical problems and the need for midlife refits have left the Pakistan Navy with only two submarines on active duty. Three of the five Agosta class submarines are either being upgraded or have defects, making them far from seaworthy. Currently, only two submarines– an Agosta 90B and an Agosta 70 are available till the middle of next year.
•The PNS Hurmat, an Agosta 70 type submarine, has a dodgy starboard engine as well as problems with its ESM or Electronic Warfare Support Measures system, making it virtually blind and non-operational from the beginning of summer.
• The PNS Saad, an Agosta 90B submarine is in dry dock, being refitted from April and will be out of action for three years. STM, a Turkish firm is doing the refit and it will take as long as three years as changes are necessary to ensure the usage of Sea Hake torpedos and the Babur 3 submarine-launched cruise missile.
• STM Turkey is refitting the PNS Khalid, the other Agosta 90B submarine and there are considerable COVID-related delays. As China has not delivered eight submarines and won’t for a while, the Pakistan navy has only two available: PNS Hashmat and PNS Hamza.
It’s not just the submarine fleet: three major warships have varying difficulties. The PNS Khaibar, one of two guided-missile destroyers has problems, including too much vibration from April, while two of the four Chinese designed frigates — the PNS Saif and the PNS Zulfiquar — have limited air-defence capability, the latter for years as the Chinese-made FM-90 surface to air missile or SAM isn’t functional. The Zulfiquar also has a radar problem as does the smaller PNS Azmat, the fast-attack missile boat. The Jurrat, another missile boat has problems with its electronic warfare support measures system. Overall, there is a shortage of spares, another serious problem.
India, in comparison, is better placed with three new Scorpene submarines, and three more to follow, plus four German-made HDW and eight older Russian Kilo-class submarines. This is apart from the nuclear submarines in the fleet.