(Report by Dr Shahid Qureshi) :-
The first vessel in the Pakistani Naval Forces’ Agosta 90B Class Submarine Modernization Project, which provided Turkey with the first export in submarine design and engineering services, will be launched this month.
In 2016, Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade (STM) won the modernization tender in a competition with a $350 million contract against a French company that builds submarines.
As part of the project for the modernization of the Agosta 90B-class submarines, Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Co. had a tough and long competition process with the French DCNS Shipyard, which carried out the design and production of the submarines. The Turkish company was evaluated as being technically and commercially superior and was chosen as the main contractor by the Pakistani Defense Ministry at the end of the tender process.
Murat İkinci, STM’s general manager, told Anadolu Agency (AA) Friday that Pakistan granted the modernization project of its French-made diesel-electric submarines to a Turkish company since it had confidence in the progress and engineering experience that Turkey has achieved in this regard. Indicating that the company signed the contract a long time ago and successfully brought it up to this level, İkinci said, “Hopefully, by the end of this month, we are will complete the outfitting of our first ship and launch it and begin its tests, including diving tests.”
The STM initially signed contracts for two submarines within the scope of the project. Although the contract on the third ship has not been signed yet, the STM aims to finish it quickly after the first ship’s navigational experience is completed, the general manager said. “Pakistan also aims to modernize three submarines in its inventory. We can clearly say that we will sign the contract as a result of the success of the first vessel. We do not think there will be any setbacks here,” he added.
The tender, which included the half-life modernization of the Agosta 90B-class submarine, was later expanded with the addition of the modernization of the second submarine. Following this, Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Co. created new jobs within the scope of the project through the success and confidence it provided. The contract change, which included torpedo countermeasure systems and acoustic measurement sensors, is aimed at giving new capabilities to Pakistani submarines.
The project is important because it is the first time a Turkish company has been chosen as the main contractor for an overseas submarine project. This project has paved the way for the export of undersea design and engineering services for the first time.
Within the scope of modernization activities undertaken by the STM, the entire sonar suite of the submarine ship, periscope systems, and command and control system, as well as the radar and electronic support systems, are being replaced by Turkish military software developed by HAVELSAN.
KAŞİF, the geographic information system (GIS) software developed by HAVELSAN through domestic means, is being used in the infrastructure of the Command and Control System of Pakistan’s submarine. The Sonar Integrated Submarine Command Control System (SEDA), developed by HAVELSAN, is also being integrated into the Agosta 90B submarine, making it Turkey’s first export item in this field as well.
Moreover, ASELSAN’s Zargana Torpedo Countermeasures System has also been used in the modernized Agosta 90B submarine of the Pakistan Navy.