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China launches first Hangor-class submarine built for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD / BEIJING (PTI): China has launched the first of the eight Hangor-class submarines to be built for its all-weather ally Pakistan to provide it with state-of-the-art warships, adding a new dimension to their growing bilateral military cooperation.

The launch ceremony, held at Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group's (WSIG) Shuangliu Base on Friday, was attended by Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Naveed Ashraf, Geo News reported.

The development comes as part of the agreement between Islamabad and Beijing under which the latter had agreed to provide the former with eight state-of-the-art advanced submarines.

Out of the total eight vessels, four are to be built by WSIG, while the remaining four are being built at KS&EW (Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works) under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement.

The submarines, having advanced stealth features, are to be fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors to operate under a multi-threat environment and can engage targets at stand-off ranges.

Speaking at the occasion, Admiral Ashraf emphasised the importance of maritime security under the prevailing geo-strategic environment and the Navy's resolve to ensure regional peace and stability.

The Navy Chief also underscored that the Hangor-class S/M Project will "add a new dimension to the all-weather Pak-China friendship and shows strong military cooperation between two countries".

Friday's launch ceremony comes after Pakistan commenced the manufacturing of the 6th Hangor-class submarine by KS&EW in February earlier this year.

Pakistan enjoys close military ties with China with their bilateral relations provisioning various arms imports by Islamabad from Beijing.

Last year, the Pakistan Navy inducted two newly built Chinese Type 054 A/P frigates.
Both countries had inked the contract for four multi-role frigates back in 2018. The first and second ships ‘PNS TUGHRIL’ and ‘PNS TAIMUR’ joined the PN fleet in 2022.

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