Turkey begins construction of naval warship for Pakistan

Turkey has started the construction of a naval warship to be sold to ally Pakistan as part of a deal signed in July 2018, pro-government Sabah newspaper reported on Sunday.

Construction for the MILGEM warship was kicked off with a steel-cutting ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff  Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, it said. 

Pakistan’s navy last year signed a contract for the acquisition of four MILGEM-class ships from Turkey.

The 99.5-meter Turkish MILGEM class corvettes are anti-submarine warfare (ASW) oriented vessels designed to embark ASW/ASUW helicopters and fitted with Harpoon and RAM missiles and a 76 mm gun.

Turkey and Pakistan have recently deepened cooperation in the defence field. 

Turkish defence company Defence Technologies and Engineering (STM) won the tender to upgrade Pakistan's submarines in 2016. Also, 158-meter Pakistani Navy Fleet Tanker designed by STM and built in Karachi was commissioned in 2018 by Pakistani Navy. 

The two countries also signed a $1.5 billion deal for the  sale of 30 Turkish T129 ATAK attack helicopters Turkish-made ATAK attack helicopters on July 13, 2018, however, the project has hit a technical snag.