Islamabad: In a bid to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations, China is set to supply eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines to the Pakistan Navy by 2028. The National Assembly`s Standing Committee on Defence was briefed about the development by the head of Pakistan`s next-generation submarine programme and senior naval officials on August 26, reports the Express Tribune.
Though it is unclear whether a contract has been signed, but reports suggest that the high-level statement in front of the committee members provides official confirmation.
A Pakistan Navy official had earlier in April announced that Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) had secured a contract to produce four of the eight submarines, which will be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.
Valued at $4 to $5 billion, Beijing is expected to extend a long-term loan to Islamabad at a low interest rate. So far, there is no official confirmation on what type of submarines will be supplied to the Pakistan Navy by the China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC). However, speculations suggest the new submarines will be lighter export versions of the People Liberation Army Navy`s Type 039 and Type 041 Yuan-class conventional attack submarines.
While the first four submarines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023, the remaining four will be assembled in Karachi by 2028.