Pakistan starts building original patrol boat

On October 6, Karachi Shipyards & Engineering Works (KSEW) cut the steel for the first of 20 new 38.8 meter patrol boats for the Pakistan Navy (PN).

According to the PN, the patrol boat is an indigenous design. In fact, one of the main entities participating in the program is the PN’s internal design office, the Naval Research and Development Institute (NRDI).

Interesting way, Swiftships, a shipbuilding and marine engineering company based in Louisiana, USA, is also a prime contractor for the PN patrol boat program. In fact, according to Swiftships tweets, it “provides value-added engineering services, kit supply and supervision assistance” to KSEW.

Swiftships says the PN aims to commission the first boat in 2023.

Although the PN requires a total of 20 patrol boats, it is not clear if all will be of this specific design. It is possible that the PN could divide this program into several tranches where future boats will undergo certain design modifications or capacity additions.

Possible specifications

Neither Swiftships nor the PN have revealed the full specifications of the patrol boat. However, with a length of 38.8 m, the boat could have a displacement of around 200-250 tons.

In terms of armament, the patrol boat seems to be equipped with a 25 mm Aselsan STOP (RWS) remote-operated firing station at the front, and an Aselsan STAMP RWS towards the stern.

The sensor load consists of a primary search radar and, optionally, electronic support measures (ESM).

Although Swiftships is a participating contractor, it appears that the patrol boat itself is an original NRDI design. Thus, drawing parallels between this design and any of the Swiftships designs would not provide a correct assessment of size, specification or capability.

That said, boats of this size typically operate a wide range of capabilities. Indeed, the configuration the PN opted for with its design is conservative in scope. For example, Swiftships offers a 35m design that can carry a 30mm cannon and lightweight precision-guided Griffin missiles.

Thus, the NP approaches this program with a specific objective – general maritime safety.

Greater investment in maritime patrol and policing

In addition to this patrol vessel program, the PN is also acquiring offshore patrol vessels (OPV) from Damen Group in the Netherlands. Currently, the PN has two Damen OPV 1900s in service (i.e. PNS Yarmook and SNP tabuk), and two larger OPV 2600s on order.

Together, it appears that the OPV 1900/2600 and patrol boat programs point to greater investment in dedicated policing and patrol capabilities at sea…

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