An STM press statement shows that the Turkish government-owned defense contractor won the contract for upgrading three Agosta 90B-classic diesel-electric attack submarine provided with air-independent thrust systems. It also stated that these submarines are currently being used by the Pakistan Navy.
The deal was finalized on 22nd June in Rawalpindi where both, the Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense Production and STM were present and supervised the contract. Executives from the Turkish Under-Secretariat for Defense Industries and the Pakistan Embassy in Turkey were also there to witness the contract.
Disclosure of contract
The revelation of the contract being awarded was made after three weeks of the contract when Fikri Isik; the Turkish Defense Minister and his Pakistani colleague, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, had a meeting on 3rd June in Islamabad. The main purpose was to discuss the defense relations between the two countries. In addition, the meeting also included the discussion of the potential deal. Sources revealed that the company which actually built the Agosta90B class; Direction des Constructions Navales (DCNS), failed to maintain the submarine with the modern standards.
STM and DCNS fought a long battle to prove which company was fit for the maintenance and for the modernization of the Agosta 90B submarines. In this battle, designing and production were the main fields which needed to be tested and both the companies took part in the test. According to the press statement, after a long process of evaluation, STM was known to get the upper hand as it proved to be technically and commercially superior. Hence, it was selected for the big contract.
The contract included the upgrade of one and the modernization of three submarines. The other two submarines may also get included in the contract as they are optional for now. The maintenance of the submarines will be done at a confined shipyard in Pakistan, which is most probably the Submarine Rebuild Complex in Karachi.
According to the press, it would take about 4-5 months for the service of the first submarine. The others are determined to be modernized within one year. There hasn’t been given any detail about the modernization plans of the submarines so far.
According to some defense analysts, this upgrade could modernize the submarines’ combat management system similar to the ones used in the Turkish Navy’s submarine fleet. These were estimated to have variants of German Type 209 submarines.
In Karachi, two out of the three Agosta 90B class submarines were built with the help of the French engineers. PNS/M Hamza, which was the last submarine, was authorized in 2006. Pakistan agreed to purchase eight Type 41 Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines from China, in 2015.