China Defence Opinion

First Look: This is Pakistan’s Biggest Maritime Patrol Vessel

Pakistan Maritime Security Agency’s (PMSA) is expected to get six Maritime Patrol Vessels (MPVs) – two large 1,500 ton and four medium sized 600-ton – from China. Today, first photos of Pakistan Maritime’s largest patrol vehicle have emerged on the internet.

Pictures of a 1,500 ton MPV docked at Huangpu Shipyard have been shared at the Chinese website cjdby.

One of the two 1,500 ton MPVs is being developed by the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW). Its keel was set by the KSEW in January 2017.

MPV Specs & Usage
The 1,500 ton MPV has a length of 95 metres and is powered by two engines, enabling it to travel at a high top speed of 26 knots.

This will be the first 1,500 ton patrol vessel in Pakistan’s history. The large sized vessel is said to have a flight deck as well, capable of accommodating light or medium utility helicopters.

1500 ton MPVs will operate independently or as part of a composite force in coastal and deep sea regions.

Both 600 ton and 1,500 ton MPVs will be used for different roles including Maritime Security Operations, patrolling, surveillance of EEZ (exclusive economic zone), intelligence gathering, policing operations against asymmetric threats, pollution control and disaster relief.

Current Fleet
Until now, the PMSA has received three out of the four 600 ton MPVs – namely the PMSS Hingol, PMSS Basol and PMSS Darya-e-Dasht. In January, the former two have been deployed in Gwadar.

KSEW has been working on the fourth Hingool-class MPV since May 2016, which is said to be 68 metres in length and will sport a top speed of 27 knots.

Other than these MPVs, PMSA’s offshore patrol fleet consists of four Barkat-class Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPVs). These were built between 1988-1990 and have a maximum displacement of 397 tons with a travel range of up to 1,500 nautical miles at 12 knots. The Barkat class OPVs are supported by nine 14 ton Fast Response Boats, which were acquired from the US.

Back in 2014, USA approved the sale of eight 43-metre Global Response Cutters (GRC43M) with weapons, subsystems and maintenance support for the PMSA for $350 million. These had a displacement of 237.5 tons with a top speed of 32.4 knots at full load while covering a range of 3,000 nautical miles at 14 knots.

However, Pakistan did not go through with the contract hinting that the Hingol-class MPVs were acquired as a substitute to the US GRCs.

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