Pakistan Navy's surface warfare capabilities got a boost as it received first of the three missile-carrying Chinese F-22P frigates.
The new Frigate christened christened PNS Zulfiqar, which is armed with ship-to-ship and ship-to-air missiles and is the first of the three ordered from China, arrived at this southern port city.
Under the $750 million contract for the frigates, China will also supply four to six Harbin Z9EC anti-submarine warfare helicopters to Pakistan.
The two other frigates are expected to be handed over to Pakistan by the end of 2010. Islamabad [ Images ] will build the fourth warship of the same class in Karachi which is expected to be commissioned by mid-2013, Naval spokesman Commander Mubeen Bajwa said.
The new frigates will enhance the Pakistan Navy's surface warfare capabilities. They will also be used to escort oil supplies from the Gulf in the event of any hostilities, Bajwa told a TV news channel.
The collaboration with the Chinese for building the fourth F-22P frigate in Karachi had helped modernize Pakistan's shipbuilding capabilities, Bajwa said.
The country will move from building smaller vessels to frigate-size warships, he added.