China held a keel-laying ceremony on 23 March at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard (HDZH) in Shanghai for the second of four Type 054A-class , which the PN refers to as the ‘Type 054 A/P’, on order for the Pakistan Navy (PN). During the ceremony Keel laying protocols were signed by both Pakistani and Chinese sides. Chief Naval Overseas (China), Commodore Azfar Humayun graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Once constructed, these ships will be the most technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistan Navy which will “strengthen its capability to meet future challenges and maintain peace, stability and power equilibrium in the Indian Ocean Region”.
The Pakistan Navy ordered four Type 054A, the last two orders were announced on 1 June 2018. The ships are expected to enter service by 2021. The steel-cutting ceremony for the second Type 054A frigate for the Pakistan Navy was held in China on 19 December 2018, marking the beginning of construction of the vessel at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai. On November 1, 2019, China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding held a steel cutting ceremony for the Pakistan Navy’s third and fourth Type 054A frigates.The keel-laying ceremony for the second ship was held on March 23, 2019 at Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
The Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) frigate is a class of Chinese multi-role frigates, the first of which entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in 2007. It is a development of the Type 054 frigate, using the same hull but with improved sensors and weapons. The Type 054A was first revealed while under construction at the Guangzhou-based Huangpu Shipyard in 2005. The Type 054A carries HQ-16 medium-range air defence missiles and anti-submarine missiles in a vertical launching system (VLS) system. The HQ-16 has a range of up to 50 km, with superior range and engagement angles to the Type 054’s HQ-7. The Type 054A’s VLS uses a hot launch method; a shared common exhaust system is sited between the two rows of rectangular launching tubes.
Hudongâ€“Zhonghua Shipbuilding is a wholly owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the largest shipbuilding group in China and the second largest shipbuilding conglomerate in the world. Headquartered in Shanghai, Hudong-Zhonghua produces ships for civilian and military use, and is China’s only manufacturer of LNG carriers. Hudongâ€“Zhonghua is reputed to be the cradles to frigates and landing craft for the Chinese Navy. Hudongâ€“Zhonghua Shipbuilding was formed through the merger of Hudong Shipbuilding (founded in 1928 as Molleis Shipbuilding and Engineering Works) and Zhonghua Shipyard (1926) in 2001 and is now the largest shipbuilding company in China.