October 9, 2015

Pakistan to receive Chinese submarines

Chinese video announcement. "Pakistan is to build 4 Type 035 Ming class submarines in Karachi and 4 AIP Mings will be supplied direct". (Youtube courtesy PLA-N)
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Chinese Ming class, Type 035 SSK, also may be upgraded to mount the Russian supplied Klub-S land attack missile. Similar to those fired by Russia at Islamic State targets in Syria.
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Pakistan has been keenly awaiting submarine assistance from its powerful Chinese ally and now details of the 8 submarines have emerged. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported, October 7, 2015, that:

"China will build in Karachi four of eight submarines that it is selling to Pakistan.
Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain told at the inauguration of the Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) Display Centre in the federal capital that the deal for the acquisition of submarines from China had been finalised and four of them would be built here.

He further said that construction of the submarines would simultaneously begin in Pakistan and China.

China, he said, would transfer the technology to Pakistan for submarine construction.

Mr Hussain did not specify when the construction would begin, but said it would be happening soon.

A training centre would be set up in Karachi for this purpose.


The minister did not either say which type of submarines were being purchased from China."

China, in recognition of Pakistan's government budgetary conditions, is providing affordable submarines on special credit terms with prudent technical upgrades. Upgrades may include air independent propulsion (AIP) and Russian supplied Klub-S "Sizzler" land attack missiles with a 300 km range - insufficient to reach Delhi but within reach of Mumbai.

HISTORY OF THE CHINA-PAKISTAN SUBMARINE DEAL

Tough negotiations between Pakistan and China have continued for almost a decade but have now been completed.


- March 9, 2011 The Hindu “Pak plans to acquire 6 submarines from China”


- March 1, 2014  Times of India story

- March 31, 2015 Dawn article  "ISLAMABAD:  Naval officials informed the Standing Committee on Defence Monday that the federal government has endorsed a summary to get eight submarines from China.".

- April 2, 2015 Reuters article  - - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved a deal years in the making to buy eight submarines from China. A Pakistani government official said on Thursday, in what could be one of China's largest overseas weapons sales once it is signed. The  official...said the deal to buy the diesel-electric submarines would likely be signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visits.


- April 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping  visited Pakistan and a special agreement negotiated.

- October 16, 2015 Chinese journalists quote Pakistani officials who are talking up the  possibility of a China-Pakistan submarine deal. The article written by Qian Feng, councillor of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, quotes Pakistan Federal Minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain's announcement about the submarine deal with China, which Beijing or its official media is yet to officially confirm.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

The one Pakistan going to buy should be the non-AIP version of 039A Yuen class. 035Ming class is a very outdated submarine, even more outdated than the French submarine going to be replaced.

http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/confirmed-chinese-submarines-will-be-built-in-karachi/

Common Sense said...

Hi Pete,

I won't put a lot of credence on the Chinese video report. The Ming is a very, very old design and as far as I know, it's production ended over a decade ago. Whatever AIP capabilities it had were most likely meant for testing for the Song and Yuan classes.

If China can promote newer designs to the likes of Thailand, surely Pakistan would get the same. Besides, they also a have a license agreement with the French for the Agosta-90B, which is far more modern than the Ming.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous and Common Sense

Pakistan is in serious debt and relies on Western aid. So it cannot afford Yuans or Songs.

If Agostas were an option Pakistan would have built more years ago or even Scorpenes.

The Chinese economy has also slowed down so Mings have blessed logic. Why do you think Pakistan has been so vague about actual submarine types all these years?

Cheers

Pete

Common Sense said...

Hi Pete,

If you want to have a credible capability with a dated platform, you will need to do a host of upgrades: sensors, weaponry, propulsion and, of course, AIP. The Mings lag behind on all these fronts. Once you factor in updates for all of these aspects, you will find that a Ming will, at most, give a 30% reduction in prices over modern designs. Pakistan's economy is not so bad that the JF-17 fighter programme or missile programmes have stalled. The Pakistani submarine arm has always "tried" to maintain a qualitative edge or be a major differentiator with the Indian Navy, so its highly unlikely, they will go two steps (or three decades) backward.

Second, about why the PN was vague about its requirements: very few nations put out specs of what they want. The PN did consider the Type-214 and a wholly-French derivative of the Scorpene.

Finally, on why they went the Chinese route: they want a credible nuclear strike capability from sea and only China would help them integrate it. And besides, its not like China expects hard bucks in return: the Paks have handed over to them the Gwadar deep-water port (direct land access from the Arabian Sea, via Kashmir, to Xinjiang): that's a huge strategic bonus.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Common Sense

I think China will not help Pakistan build an advanced submarine, which could serve as a nuclear strike platform, because of the economic costs and rise in strategic tensions that it would cause.

Economic costs include friction with China's main trading partners, including the US and Japan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_China
. China's economy is slowing down.

China also does not want to boost strategic tensions over and above the South China Sea and East China Sea situations. China does not want to accelerate strategies towards an anti-China quadrilateral (US, India, Japan, Australia)

Therefore an advanced submarine, with AIP, like the Yuan, for Pakistan is unpopular in Beijing.

China is playing it safe offering a low specs sub (the Ming) knowing Pakistan will refuse the Ming, with Pakistan holding out for Songs that could be upgraded, or Yuans/S-20.

China and Pakistan have been at this negotiating impasse since 2011.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

They look ancient :)
I guess Germany is in favour of selling subs to India. So buying 214s is off the table for Pakistan.

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I think the Type 053 Ming class is perfect for Pakistan as a back up if they can't afford Yuan class Submarines. Though I think they should talk to Russia on the Improved Kilo class SSK. I know Bangladesh is buying the Type 053 Ming class SSK as well.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at October 10, 2015 at 2:34 AM]

It is true that Germany would not sell the 214 to Pakistan.

However there is another German produced submarine with formidable range of 15,500 nautical miles. This is the HDW Type 221 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_XXI_submarine

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I think that you are correct in that Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) is taking delivery of two spanking new Type 035s it can only further reunification aims when West Pakistan completes the bold project to acqire 8 nuclear tipped SLCM 035s, AIP with rubber tiles.

Regards

Pete

Biswajit Pattanaik said...

Hi Pete,

Yup,you are right that China wouldn't provide Pakistan with the most advanced SSKs that they have ever made.There are themselves the user of those new SSKs & there is an unwritten rule that the weapon export country will always sell a less advanced/older gen weapon platform to the buying nation.

And there is no chance of Russia supplying them with any type of SSKs rest assured.Plus with their Strategic Partnership agreement/cooperation with India prohibits Russia from supplying Pakistan any weapon that threatens India's security.

There is a saying "Beggars can't be Chossers". And this is no way an offence to Pakistan.When that country is in some serious Cirrcular debt.Plus with China's economy is also slowing down.A country relying on aids & loans can't never afford such toys.

Biswajit Pattanaik said...

Hi Common Sense,

"Pakistan's economy is not so bad that the JF-17 fighter programme or missile programmes have stalled."

You really think that the JF-17/FC-1 Fighter programme is surviving only on Pakistan's money,rest assured that China is providing money from behind.

"The Pakistani submarine arm has always "tried" to maintain aqualitative edge or be a major differentiator with the Indian Navy, so its highly unlikely, they will go two steps (or three decades) backward."

That's is the same mentality that will push Pakistan even into more financial trouble.The same thing happend with the erstwhile U.S.S.R while chasing the U.S.A .The current race in which Pakistan is involved with India it will always come 2nd best.Sadly the general public in Pakistan has been lead belive that India is their prime enemy by their Govt. & Military.

"The PN did consider the Type-214 and a wholly-French derivative of the Scorpene."

Truth to be told there wasn't & isn't enough money with Pakistan to buy those platforms & then to maintain them.

"And besides, its not like China expects hard bucks in return: the Paks have handed over to them the Gwadar deep-water port (direct land access from the Arabian Sea, via Kashmir, to Xinjiang): that's a huge strategic bonus."

Really China don't expect hard bucks in return.A business minded country like China wouldn't let get away its hard bucks that easily,just have look at their interest rate they charge.And above all its an investment for which they have signed an MoU which in simpiler terms means when their RoI isn't what they expected they can just easily pack their bags & return.
And the area from where this corridor will pass is [Pok & CoK] is a proven terriorst infected,ressistive area plus it is also an proven & active land-slides,avalanche & earthquake prone area due the nature of the Indian tectonic place pushing against the Eurasian plate.And no sane-minded country will be depending on this as the only route to the Arabain Sea for their future use.The sheer amount of maintenace required for this route will outweigh any advantage it will have.So this is no way a huge strategic bonus which many a Pakistan general public belive it is.
In no way i am against the CPEC,simply because if implemented correctly it will the improve the general life of general public there.My concern is only for the area going through the PoK region & its adjacent areas.

I hope you take this as a positive criticism & not as bashing or something like that.As always you are entitled to your own opinion.

Regards

Biswajit

Anonymous said...

Hey Pete,
the shape of the Ming in fact looks more like Type XXI than like today's designs.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/SRH025-p40.jpg

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at October 10, 2015 at 6:27 PM]

That the "Ming in fact looks more like Type XXI" is no coincidence.

The German XXI was extremely advanced for its day (in 1945 onwars) and was subsequently copied by all major submarine building countries including Russia (with the help of captured German technicians), who produced many XXI based "Romeo" submarines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_XXI_submarine#Soviet_Union

In 1963, under the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, the Soviet Union passed to China the necessary design details in order to produce Romeo-class submarines. The Chinese variant became known as the Type 033 Romeo-class, of which China built a total of 84 between 1962 and 1984.

During 1970s, China's ambitions to create an indigenous submarine industry lead to the...Type 035 Ming-class. Two Type 035 boats were complete by 1974. So XXI lead to the Type 033 Chinese "Romeo" the Type 035 "Ming" see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_035_submarine#Background

The Oberon submarine that Australia used up to December 2000 also had many German Type XXI features. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Australian_Navy_Submarine_Service#1945_to_present

Regards

Pete

Saqr said...

China will likely export the S20 to Pakistan, i.e. the export variant of the Type-039/041. The Chinese vendor for the submarines is CSOC, the state contracted supplier of the S20. The S20 is lighter than the Yuan-class, but it retains the same six 533mm torpedo tubes, but the lighter displacement means the S20 will likely lack the payload and range of the Yuan. It also isn't offered with AIP by default, the customer would have to pay extra for it.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Biswajit [at October 10, 2015 at 5:00 PM]

Yes I agree no countries offer up their highest specs submarines to customers.

On a specific tack - If China supplied to Pakistan an S-20 that had no AIP then that export sub may be more a development of the Song or Ming rather than development of the Yuan (which is distinguished by its AIP).

Alternatively if China did supply AIP - A particular difficulty for China is that its AIP is based on (or is) the Swedish designed and exported Stirling engine. I don’t think Sweden (which is bringing out a second generation Stirling) would be happy continuing to supply key weapons technology to China if Sweden perceived China is handing it on to a third party country embroiled in a grim nuclear confrontation.

As Russia wouldn’t supply Klubs direct to Pakistan or via China. Pakistan might modify any submarine launched Exocets for land attack or continue development of a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babur_(cruise_missile) SLCM for land attack.

And you're right - China would desirably operate on money from submarine sales. Also if China basically gave away subs to Pakistan China would find it increasingly difficult to try to sell subs to other cash-strapped customers (like Thailand) for $100s millions.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Saqr

If China supplied a version of the, as yet unseen, S20 (or S-20) that has no AIP, to Pakistan, then that export sub may be more a development of the Song or Ming rather than development of the Yuan. This is because the Yuan is most importantly distinguished from the Song by the Yuan having AIP.

Alternatively if China did supply AIP - A particular difficulty for China is that its AIP is based on (or is) the Swedish designed and exported Stirling engine. I don’t think Sweden (which is bringing out a second generation Stirling) would be happy continuing to supply key weapons technology to China if Sweden perceived China is handing it on to a third party country embroiled in a grim nuclear confrontation.

In terms of mature AIP from the other countries that means MESMA (which is considered dated but Pakistan has it in 3 of its Agostas) and Germany with fuel cell AIP- but Germany would likely see India as a more profitable customer. India would want exclusive rights to German subs and German fuel cell AIP.

Regards

Pete

Saqr said...

Just for reference, this is the official mock-up by CSOC of the S20:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qEMFbaq-9OU/US4uy5c6AcI/AAAAAAAAOpI/9W4eWwlK-Ik/s640/S20+submarine.jpg

CSOC's mock-up of the S20 seems to indicate that it is based on the Yuan's general design, but is slotted to be lighter (at around 2000 tons submerged versus the Yuan's 3600 tons). The omission of the AIP probably has more to do with offering a low competitive price to prospective customers, especially those countries whose maritime concerns are primarily littoral and below the scope of needing AIP systems. But CSOC made it clear that AIP can be installed upon the customer's request.

As for AIP technology Pakistan could get. Herein lies the hint as to why talks over this submarine took over 4 years and why specific details are scarce. Pakistan expressed interest in the Yuan specifically in 2009, but I expect - like you - that China was unwilling to offer that design.

I imagine the S20 design was forwarded as the export-friendly option for Pakistan and others, and Pakistan agreed, but neither Pakistan or China had not settled the AIP question until recently.

There has been no formal confirmation of whether the new Pakistani submarines will incorporate AIP right out of the gate. It is possible that the issue had not been settled at all or that a third party vendor has been secured, but is being kept under wraps, along with other details surrounding this submarine deal.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Saqr

Thanks for the plastic model of what may become an S20 is several years time at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qEMFbaq-9OU/US4uy5c6AcI/AAAAAAAAOpI/9W4eWwlK-Ik/s640/S20+submarine.jpg

Certainly it looks very similar to the 35 year old Kilo submarine design http://preview.turbosquid.com/Preview/2014/05/19__10_27_17/Russian_Kilo_Class_Submarine_00.jpg717d1671-528a-493d-a405-6a551cc58518Original.jpg

A third party provider of something more up to date than MESMA AIP may be difficult for China-Pakistan to find. This is assuming Sweden still has control over Stirling technology.

In the same way that China's economic power has dissuaded SSK providing countries to supply subs for Taiwan India's economic power (and India's new friend the US) may be dissuading other countries from providing modern SSKs with modern technologies to Pakistan.

Regards

Pete

Saqr said...

I don't doubt the power of India's influence and Pakistan's lack of financial ability in as far as Western vendors go.

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
Here's the Story on Defense News

Pakistan, China Finalize 8-Sub Construction Plan
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/submarines/2015/10/11/pakistan-china-finalize-8-sub-construction-plan/73634218/

Also you may want to see this as well.
Saab Pitches Collins Submarine Upgrade
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2015/10/10/saab-pitches-collins-submarine-upgrade/73643244/

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at October 12, 2015 at 5:17 AM]

Thanks for "Pakistan, China Finalize 8-Sub Construction Plan"
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/submarines/2015/10/11/pakistan-china-finalize-8-sub-construction-plan/73634218/

As with all declarations on the "8 submarines" issue the news is from Pakistani politicians and journalists. There will be (has been) nothing from Chinese politicians. I wonder why? Then reason that Pakistan is trying to "talk up" or promote the possibility of the sale in the vain hope (so far) that China will sell them subs. When China talks it may be a serious deal.

Thanks for "Saab Pitches Collins Submarine Upgrade" at
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2015/10/10/saab-pitches-collins-submarine-upgrade/73643244/ The article is thin on what constitutes a "Gotland upgrade" Unfortunately our Collins spend 2 to 3 times longer in regular maintenance which may exhaust any money that could go into Gotland style upgrades. Also Collins are expected to be operational even if thats sporadic.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I heard it is Yuan Class http://sajeevpearlj.blogspot.in/2015/10/pakistan-buys-8-yuan-class-submarines.html

Regards Yuv

Peter Coates said...

Hi Yuv

Thanks for http://sajeevpearlj.blogspot.in/2015/10/pakistan-buys-8-yuan-class-submarines.html which mentions 8 Yuans for 5 $Billion. For such a stupendous sum the ariticle is curiously lacking in details.

I don't know where Pakistan will find the money.

I wonder who signed the 5 $Billion deal and when.

Regards

Pete