Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated PNS Khyber, the third of the four MILGEM corvettes built with the joint collaboration of Turkiye and Pakistan.
PNS Khairbar was launched at Istanbul Shipyard on November 25.
PM Sharif urged public and private defense companies from both countries to expand collaboration to further strengthen brotherly ties between the two countries. He also stressed the need for Pakistan and Turkiye to transform their bilateral ties into a strategic partnership, inviting Ankara to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for regional prosperity.
“Pakistan and Türkiye are deeply engaged in promoting our defense capabilities for peace, not for war or aggression, and as they say, if you want to live in peace, you must be prepared for war,” Sharif said. “This [MILGEM corvette ships] is not for aggression. This is for defense,” he noted.
President Erdogan said that “The defense industry is one of the important pillars of cooperation” between Turkiye and Pakistan. He added that the solidarity between the two countries is strengthening day by day with a strategic perspective decisively based on the history, friendship and potential of the two countries.
The MILGEM (National Ship) marine platforms project is a Turkish warship program that aims to develop multipurpose corvettes and frigates. These include reconnaissance, surveillance, early warning, anti-submarine warfare, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air warfare, and amphibious operations.
In July 2018, the Pakistan Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four Ada class ships with Turkish state-owned defense firm ASFAT. Under the agreement, two corvettes were envisaged to be built in Turkiye and the other two in Pakistan, in a deal that included technology transfer.
Four MILGEM (Babur-class) corvettes for Pakistan Navy
- The first corvette for the Pakistan Navy, PNS Babar, was launched in Istanbul in August 2021.
- The foundation for the second ship, PNS Badr, was laid in Karachi in May this year.
- The third PNS Khaibar was launched in Istanbul on November 25, 2022.
- The fourth PNS Tariq is under construction at Karachi Shipyard.