Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan, Admiral Noman Bashir told KLS that because of geographical factor, Pakistan needs more ships to cover the vast area.
“We need to expand F22P, whether we do exactly the same as F22P or we make some upgrade, make it even better. Because of the technology is changing every year, in order to keep it up to date, you have to keep upgrading what you have.”
Pakistan ordered four F22P frigates from China in 2005, the first three ships will be built in China while the last in Pakistan. The first F22P was delivered to Pakistan in mid 2009.
Apart from that, there are reports saying that procuring Chinese Type 054A Frigate is part of Pakistan Navy’s expansion program. Type 054A is a 4000+ ton missile frigate, installed with vertical launch missile launchers and advanced radar and fire control systems.
F22P frigate is an improved version of Chinese Type 053H3 frigate, its full load displacement is 3000+ton but without any vertical launch system.
“Type 054A is a bigger ship than F22P, but we may not acquire 054, but we need to upgrade F22P, to become closer to 054,” Admiral Noman Bashir said.
Type 054A XuZhou is installed with 32 cells vertical launcher system. XuZhou called on Port Klang in Dec 2009.
He commented that Type 054A is a very successful ship for PLA Navy.
He said F22P can be modified to become closer to Type 054A, but not exactly like that. Pakistan Navy is discussing with Chinese counterparts about its future frigate upgrading program.
He added for the time being, Pakistan Navy is engaging with F22P program, only once they have finished it then goes to second.
“The fourth F22P will take about a year for construction, then we will talk about that.”
He not ruled out the possibility of naming the next generation frigate as F23P.
I had said a while back that PN would likely consider building an upgraded F-22P as an alternative to the Type-054/054A but was summarily shot down. Well, Adm. Bashir (Naval Chief) stated that this may indeed be a possibility. The PN is relatively happy with the F-22P but with a few tweaks it could be close to the capabilities of the Type-054A. They F-22P at 3000+Tons has the size required for a VLS but has a lot of wasted space with its current setup. With some redesign, a VLS could be fitted into an enlarged version that would be somewhere between the F-22P and the Type 054 in size (a 3500T class ship). Sylver 43/50 launchers as well as the Chinese VLS launchers are possibilities. Its sensors could be replaced by Type 054A sensors or new ones like the SMART-S Mk.II or STIR radars from Thales, and the VLS could house not only the HQ-16 (42km range) but also a few Baburs. A redesign of its sides could go a long way into improving the RCS. There is potential in this ship yet...just has to be realized. If you take the F-22P design and enlarge it, redesign a few aspects, it will still cost less than the 054A. Just like the OHP had long and short hull varients so too could the F-22P.