The first of two Pakistan Navy corvettes has been launched at the facilities of Dutch shipbuilder Damen in Galati, Romania. The contract for the two vessels was signed in June 2017, with the first corvette expected to enter service by the end of 2019, and the second one set to be delivered by mid-2020, according to the Pakistan Navy. The ship was launched after starting construction in a keel-laying ceremony in April 2018. Vice Adm Aleem was quoted as saying during the ceremony that these platforms “will act as force multipliers in enhancing the Pakistan Navy’s capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility in the conduct of the Pakistan Navy’s initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region”.
The 2,300-ton corvette, which had been previously described as an offshore patrol vessel (OPV), entered the water on 17 May in a ceremony held at the shipyard in Romania and attended by PN Vice Admiral Abdul Aleem, among others. The Pakistan Navy revealed that the ships will displace 2300 tons, which indicates that they are based on the Damen OPV2400 design. According to company specifications, the OPV2400 measures 90 meters in length, includes a flight deck and hangaring space and achieves a maximum speed of 23 knots. Each of them features a helicopter pad to facilitate search-and-rescue missions, as well as surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations. No further details were provided about the systems or weapons set to be fitted onto the class.